Sometimes it is really helpful to read the struggles of someone that you greatly admire. When I read of John Newton’s complaints of his own walk with the Lord it helps me to think that perhaps I am not alone in my struggle. Seeing that Newton remained faithful throughout his life and that he is still ministering—even to associate pastors in Indiana—some 250 years later makes me think that perhaps the Lord can shine His light through a cracked vessel like me.
I want to comment on every line of this little letter from Newton but I will refrain. I do urge you to read through it slowly as I found great encouragement from it:
I hope you will find the Lord present at all times and in all places. When it is so, we are at home every where; when it is otherwise, home is a prison, and abroad a wilderness. I know what I ought to desire, and what I do desire. I point him out to others as the all in all; I esteem him as such in my own judgment; but alas! my experience abounds with complains.
He is my sun; but clouds, and sometimes walls, intercept him from my view. He is my strength; yet I am prone to lean upon reeds. He is my friend; but on my part there is such coldness and ingratitude as no other friend could bear. But still he is gracious, and shames me with repeated multiplied goodness.
O for a warmer heart, a more simple dependence, a more active zeal, a more sensible deliverance from the effects of this body of sin and death! He helps me in my endeavors to keep the vineyards of others; but, alas! my own does not seem to flourish as some do around me.
However, though I cannot say I labor more abundantly than they all, I have reason to say, with thankfulness, By the grace of God, I am what I am. My poor story would soon be much worse, did not he support, restrain, and watch over me every minute.