John Newton’s words from “Amazing Grace” have echoed through time and have reverberated in my heart throughout my journey:
“Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come: ’tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.” John Newton, “Amazing Grace”
Trevor, my son, and I sang “Amazing Grace” at Paige Plumblee’s wedding. Paige, my niece, lost her father, Scott, eight years before. Then we lost Kim. This verse was emotional as Trevor and I sang it. Scott and Kim were on our minds. However, we also had grace on our minds. Amazing grace. Mercy. Love.
So, here’s an understatement: It turns out his grace, mercy, and love are tangible. You can stand firm upon those gifts. They are available in overflowing measure. Supporting. Underneath me. These gifts come with his very presence.
The Lamentations 3 passage continues with this promise:
“The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.” Lamentations 3:25
When you seek him and find him, you find all that you need for every situation in life—even the hard ones. Dennis L. Jernigan writes these words in his song, “You are My All in All:” “Seeking You as a precious jewel, Lord, to give up, I’d be a fool; You are my all in all.” You and I need to seek him in every good and difficult situation.
“I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy. Because he inclined his ear to me, therefore I will call on him as long as I live.” Psalm 116:1-2
It’s a humbling and powerful experience to need grace and mercy and to find that it is there every moment you need. It’s as if you can reach out and take hold of it. And then add his steadfast love to the mix.
“We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
One morning, I was worshipping and sang an old hymn again. It was an important hymn to me when I was a worship leader for a short time in my ministry. “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” is a powerful hymn. Speaking of steadfast love, this song breathes the love of Jesus.
“O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free! Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me! Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love. Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!” Samuel Trevor Francis, “O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”
If he loves, I should love. If he promises grace, and mercy, I should trust and walk faithfully in his gifts to me. If he is faithful by nature, I should embrace that nature by trusting him. He is love, and his love is underneath me, upholding me.
“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16
I press into and trust his love. I should befriend faithfulness. He is worthy of my trust because he gives grace, mercy, and love as I face my loss.
“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” Psalms 37:3
D. Ray, again we thank you for sharing your heart and the lessons Father is teaching you on this long, difficult journey of grief.
Have you read the book by C. S. Lewis “ Surprised by Joy”. About his grief after his wife died? Wonderful!
We love you.
Evelyn and Zeb
I will order “Surprised by Joy.” I read “A Grief Observed.” That book is brutal–he observes, but doesn’t resolve his grief. It’s real and raw. I love you, Zeb and Evelyn.
We continue to pray for you as you walk this journey! Love you brother!
Sonny & Deen
Thank you, Sonny and Deen! Sure would be good to see you guys sometime!
Dennis Jernigan!! Peter and I used to listen to all of his music back in the 80’s. I especially love the song “When the Night is Falling, and I feel undone”.
Many thanks for offering your story and insights to all of us to read and consider.
Grace, grace, God’s grace………………love you for sharing your heart for so many who need to hear this story.