A Devotional on "Amazing Grace" by Ana Willis~
Eighteen years ago, I was diagnosed with cancer. I was 25 years old, living a life of daily drinking, smoking, late night parties, and promiscuity. As a person, I was self-centered, proud, rude, and inconsiderate of others. I mistreated people and thought that the world revolved around me.
When I heard the diagnosis in September of 1999, I had no ground to stand on, no hope and no faith to sustain me. My life was built over sand and not on solid ground. The fear of hell consumed me. I had no peace. I knew the wretch I was, and I knew I didn’t deserve to go to Heaven if I died.
I lived in agony and fear during that storm in my life until on February 2nd, 2000, I was invited to visit a church. For the first time in 5 months, I felt comforted by the preacher’s words who talked about a God of love, grace, compassion, and forgiveness. I was also confronted and convicted of my sinful life and my shameful treatment of others.
For the next two and a half months, I kept going back to that church, listening to the Word of God repeatedly. Even while driving to work, I would listen to the New Testament on a CD. While the Word of God began to sink in my heart, my addictions and sinful desires started to fade away. God’s Word gave me hope of healing, forgiveness, and Heaven.
On April 14th, a Saturday night, instead of being out partying, drinking and smoking in a club, I was home watching a Christian TV channel. It was the day before Resurrection Sunday and my eyes were glued to the little pink TV I had in my bedroom as a Christian band began to sing a song called Choose Life.
Listening to the lyrics of that song brought me to my knees and crying out to God I told Him that I wasn’t afraid of dying anymore because I knew Jesus died on the cross for me, but if He chose to heal me, I would live for Him for the rest of my life.
Not only did I find out that God is a loving and forgiving God, but He also gives us the choice to choose life. A life free from sin, a life more abundant, a life that glorifies Him.
The Lord healed me from my cancer. In the same year He saved me and healed me, I went to Bible college and began to serve Him full time. He gave me a passion for His Word and His kingdom, and with holy fire in my bones, I’ve been serving Him all around the world since then.
In these eighteen years, I’ve been walking in miracles, signs, and wonders. Serving a God of amazing grace, knowing that nothing can separate me from His love.
I’m so thankful for my cancer, the greatest storm of my life. A storm that saved a wretch like me. The same way, through a storm, God saved the life of another wretch who cried out to Him, a man called John Newton, a slave trader.
John Newton also turned his life around to serve God full-time, and years later He wrote the words of the famous hymn, Amazing Grace. He looked back into his life of sin and blindness of truth and instead of focusing on all his wrong doings, he saw God’s amazing grace through it all.
I can’t help but think of the words of King David in 1 Chronicles 17:16. The same verse that inspired the author of Amazing Grace to write that hymn:
“Who am I, O Lord God? And what is my house, that You have brought me this far?”
As I am reminded of my story and of John Newton’s story, I find comfort in knowing that no wretch is ever too far from God’s amazing grace, His grace is available to anyone who calls onto His name.
Ana Willis describes herself as a Jesus lover, homeschool mom to 3 amazing children, wife of 10 years, pastor, blogger, blog party expert, and certified health coach. She blogs to bring community and support along with encouragement and inspirations at They Call Me Blessed. With a degree in Theology and a double Bachelors in Biblical and Jewish studies, Ana is also the founder of Hebrew for Homeschoolers where she teaches homeschool students of all ages to have a deep understanding of the Hebrew language and Jewish culture.