26 February 2007

Amazing Grace

My sister & I went to see the film "Amazing Grace" yesterday (check out her thoughts here); I was at once drawn in, lifted up, and deeply moved as I saw Wilberforce's life story unfold onscreen.

As viewers of a film, we have the privilege of knowing the outcome of Wilberforce's tireless efforts to end the slave trade before the film even starts. In the two beautiful hours that his life is summarized in film, we can see the hand of God moving and we can see his own community supporting, encouraging, and inspiring his efforts. Should I pursue politics, or a life devoted to God? Those who surround him say we are here to suggest that you can do both. I was struck by how uniquely God himself had equipped William Wilberforce to be the voice of the abolitionist movement and how instrumental community was to seeing that purpose carried out.

Year after year, Wilberforce brings his abolition bill forward, and year after year it is defeated in the parliament. His deep conviction is inspiring, and the faith that carried him forward in spite of years of political opposition and failing health is nothing short of miraculous. I could feel the Holy Spirit being stirred inside me as I thought of the pursuit of my own calling and the opposition I am only beginning to face. It is what anyone who is living out his or her calling can expect.

I am struck by the reality that Wilberforce was every bit as human as you or I. He probably did not expect anything so extraordinary as the abolition of the slave trade to be accomplished by his obedience and his efforts. He could not see his life in the context that we are able to see now. However, by God's grace & design, he found himself in a unique position to be the means by which the eyes of a nation were opened and a horrific, dehumanizing practice abolished.

On my own, I am not capable of anything extraordinary. I am every inch a human, I am flawed, and I have been guilty of believing that nothing much will happen because of me. But if I believe God's word, I have a unique deposit of grace that He has given me for the purpose of advancing His kingdom on earth (Eph 2:8-10). Perhaps He has uniquely positioned me also to be a blessing to others in ways I cannot now know. The ways in which God will use me may not be as public in those which He used Wilberforce, but the purpose He has for each one of us is His own purpose and is still significant, even when hidden from the eyes of the world.

If I had a God's-eye view of my own life, what would I see? I am certain that the view I have of my own life is too myopic; why couldn't God use me to do something extraordinary? In faith, in community, in obedience, in perseverance ... by the extraordinary, amazing, unfathomable, limitless grace of God, anything God purposes can be accomplished through one of His children. Imagine what can be happen when the community of faith is obedient! When I think on this, my mind reels; I am overwhelmed ... the possibilities are as vast as God Himself. God is great, indeed.

AMAZING GRACE!! Amazing doesn't even begin to cover it ...


  1. I love this post. Thank you. It blessed me in more ways than one.

  2. I am interested in what you believe is your calling...

  3. Thank you both so much for visiting. Yesterday language was really failing me; I could not speak, but only weep. Today it is still failing me; I feel incapable of sufficiently articulating all that was and is rising to the surface in my soul.

    I am called to be a writer (I wrote about this in a post about a month ago, I believe). I am still tempted to write "I THINK I am called..." because seeing it declared so definitively astounds me. How this calling will manifest itself specifically, God only knows. I only know that His deposit of grace for me includes this.

    I have been running away from it for awhile, believing myself unequal to the calling. I am overwhelmed, knowing I have ample opportunity for development, but also trust God to supply what I lack in His own way & timing.

    As someone who has been amply blessed by what you both have written (LL & Christianne), I am humbled & consider myself to be in the best of company.

    Thanks again for visiting!!

  4. Kirsten- wonderful review, and i linked to it on my post today...

  5. i honestly think that anyone who is not moved to tears by this man's life does not have a pulse - i think tears are the language of God's own heart....

  6. Harbour -- your comment gave me tingles on the back of my neck. I have come to agree wholeheartedly with you.

  7. That comment resonated deeply with me as well. If only we knew how deep the love of God runs for His children! And anyone who is not moved by Wilberforce's story is someone whose blood runs much too cold.

  8. Thank you for the fine post. A song I hear frequently in Church, it is interesting to know the story behind it.