Have you ever met a dead man who knows you?
Well, John Newton and I haven’t exactly met. I guess I should be clear: we haven’t met at all. But he couldn’t have started out a hymn with a more appropriate assessment of my heart. Sometimes, I excuse my pensive, doubting, fearful heart condition by calling it humility or wisdom or an attempt at being “gentle as a dove.”
Maybe sometimes it is true that I am those things, but I know for certain I make more excuses than my heart deserves. As I am being transformed from one little degree of glory to the next, my heart sometimes stumbles over thought and doubt and fear. I get anxious and make human calculations, which nearly always add up to paralyzing human fear.
The combination of vulnerable words (pensive, doubting, fearful) is tricky because each serves a purpose in making us more like Christ. Our best thoughts and greatest questions and deepest fears are all satisfied in Him, but the result is the opposite of paralysis. The result is freedom.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
(2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV)
Today, my pensive, doubting, fearful heart is dancing from one degree of glory to the next, swaying to this song.