I once was lost but now I’m found

November 5, 2019 · Print This Article

Did you hear the story of the man who left his £250,000 violin on the train?[1]

To his great relief, musician Stephen Morris’ 310-year-old violin was returned to him after being contacted by a member of the public. You may have seen his interview on BBC news. To my surprise, he played a tune. The irony was not lost on me when he began to play.

The tune was the famous ‘Amazing Grace’. As he played, I mouthed the words, “I once was lost but now I’m found…”. An apt choice for such a story. But not just for this story.

This stirring, spiritual song has been the anthem for so many throughout history. Since it was written in 1772 by John Newton, these words have been the emotional echo of hearts from protestors in the Civil Rights movement, to the day Nelson Mandela walked free from prison; it was sung when the Berlin Wall came down, and after September 11th, 2001, to comfort a mourning world. Its words have been the source of comfort and strength for so many who at times felt lost and needed a spiritual idea to help them find their way.

This summer, as I drove through a humble Buckinghamshire town called Onley, I was shocked to read on its welcome sign, “Welcome to Olney, the home of ‘Amazing Grace’. It was hard to imagine this insignificant town was the birth of words that would be sung the world over. Written by a man who was himself once lost.

John Newton was a slave trader. On one sea journey in 1748, he encountered such a violent storm that it threatened to sink his ship. It was in this moment, lost and powerless, that he cried out to God to save him. That night, after the storm had passed, he sensed that there was a God who hears and answers prayers, who could save even the worst of men. Later, Newton changed from his lifestyle of profiting off the suffering of others to serving others – this man who was once lost was now found.

This is the grace the song speaks of – receiving an undeserved fresh start and new beginning – leading to a transformed life.

Maybe you feel lost in life right now, in need of a transformation. Maybe life has been cruel to you, or you’ve been cruel to others. Life may not make sense for you at the moment; you may not see a way forward. If so, I invite you to listen to the words of this song and see if this it can help you find a way forward.

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-london-50280238/musician-stephen-morris-shock-as-lost-250000-violin-returned

[Photo by Dominik Scythe on Unsplash]

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