This write-up published in the August, 2006 issue of the Shady Grove Baptist Church newsletter, “The Llove Letter.”
I once heard a very wise pastor (I’ll let you guess who) state that most Christians’ theology is derived from hymns we sing to be true to the Word of God. One hymn that was brought to my attention this week fulfills that requirement, I believe. It is “Faith’s Review and Expectation.” It is the review of one man’s journey, by God’s redeeming faith and grace, from a life of sin and wretchedness, to a life of following God’s leading through times of trial and life-threatening situations, and was inspired by David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 17. It also looks forward to the promise of life everlasting through that saving faith. The song was written in 1772 by a man once known as “The Great Blasphemer.” In 1748, after struggling as the captain of a ship through ten days of a violent storm, on the eleventh day he lashed himself to the helm in an attempt to keep the ship on course, and remained tied there for eleven hours, battling for the survival of his ship, crew, and cargo . . . and thinking about his life. Later, he would comment, ” On that day the Lord sent from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.” Slowly, God began changing his life, until he eventually became a preacher and hymn writer.
Below are the two final “missing” verses to this hymn:
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess, within the veil,
a life of joy and peace.
The earth’s hail soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.
So, the next time you sing “Faith’s Review and Expectation,” remember the captain of a slave ship, John Newton, who was changed by God’s “Amazing Grace,” and remember that you know “The rest of the hymn.”
My thanks to Captain Headknowledge, and my apologies to Paul Harvey.