This week we watched the movie Amazing Grace it was so powerful I just have to write about it. First of all you should see it. There are a select few movies I would recommend to people but this is one of them. The movie is about William Wilberforce and his efforts to stop slave trade. I was so touched by the movie I just cried every time I thought about it the next day. Not that it was sad, although some of it was, I was just so challenged to make a difference in this world – to stand up and fight for justice for the suffering. Here are some of my thoughts:
It is humbling how God uses people. God first of all drew William Wilberforce to him. He then called him through my people in his life to a great task. William committed his life to this cause. He was gifted with all that was needed – smart, talented, great speaker, wealthy, a politician with a voice. He never went to Africa but saved their lives by fighting for what was right.
Then there was his wife. Just when William was so discouraged and sick he was going to give up the fight God put his wife to be in his life. She listened, encouraged, challenged, and gave him strength to keep fighting. Without her they would have lost the battle. Wow, history would have changed forever.
And all the other people who encouraged and fought with John. Everyone played a part. They stood with William against this evil. It was one of these men who finally found away to stop most of the slave trade though another way.
These people stood up against the evil in their culture and changed the world. They stood on God’s truths and saved innocent lives. For years they fought for justice. How thankful we are for them. I was encouraged to remember that God always has His people. We will not be defeated. Victory is ours.
Another interesting thing was that every time William fought against this evil he became sick with great pain and even tormented. He was fighting against the devil’s stronghold and was attacked physically and spiritually for it. Satan was not about to give up his control in slavery – he loves to kill and destroy.
It was so sick to see those who opposed William (stated out as 1 against 300 in parliament) wanted to keep the slave trade for no other reason than money and power. The rich wanted to get richer at the cost of peoples lives. They cared only about themselves. How easily we can turn our minds off to what is happening to others far away when we are content. The same evils are happening today.
By contrast William was also very wealthy but used it for good. He didn’t give up his wealth even though those he was fighting for had nothing. His wealth and position allowed him to have a voice for the voiceless. He used his blessings for God’s purposes and glory. He lived it out too by feeding the hungry out of his home and wealth. No one condemned him for his wealth but thanked him for fighting for them, giving, and helping them.
My heart was also very broken to be reminded of the way the slaves -- God’s children – were treated like animals. It was plain evil. I could do nothing other than to go to God and repent. No I didn’t do it, but I was so full of sorrow that I just had to say I was sorry. I mourned for the sin and for the innocent lives taken. Living in Africa I think about my village friends being taken. How scared they must have been. Not knowing the language, never having seen a boat, being tortured, forced to work, never seeing family again… What if it happened to me, my husband, or my children? No person should ever be treated so wickedly. With all this on my mind I needed to be reassured of God’s forgiveness. His grace in an evil world. The stronghold from slavery is still in our world today. We are not over this. But Jesus is stronger than any stronghold satan wants to have on us. Jesus is breaks down those strongholds through our repentance and His forgiveness.
John Newton also played a part in the movie. He was the captain of a slave ship but God got a hold of him. He became a pastor and grieved his whole life the evil he was apart of. He said two things he knows. One, I am a great sinner. Two, God has great mercy.
All of this leaves me with – what can I do? If we are really honest our world is still full of injustices and slavery. I want to change the world, save those suffering and hurting. Not our of pride but great love for God. I want all to know Him, I want to do great things for His kingdom. I struggle with how I live every day in my home really doing my thing. I serve my husband, kids, and fellow missionaries…but what about those enslaved yet today? Those abandoned, abused, sold, rejected, hurting, alone, hungry, forces… God what do I do? How do I use my talents and recourses to help? So often I am wrong and think but I am just one. So what if I stop shopping at a store that uses child laborers in other countries? But it starts with one and others join. God rise up an army to stand for truth and saves lives. If we all think I can’t make a difference then we fail but if we all do our part we have victory. We need to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about others. Lord, I am open to You. Show me. Lead me. Help me. Use me. It is for You – for Your children who suffer – it is for Your glory. Bring Your justice, Your mercy. Thank you for William Wilberforce and all those who changed this world. You are still the same God. You continue to use Your people make a difference. You are faithful and victorious. What a story of amazing grace!