Performed by Elvis Presley
Lyrics written by John Newton 1772
The lyrics are based on I Chronicles 17:16
Then David the king went in and sat before the LORD and said, "Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that You have brought me this far? (NASB ©1995)
THE BLIND PASSENGER
The passengers on the bus watched sympathetically as the attractive
young woman with the white cane made her way carefully up the steps. She
paid the driver and, using her hands to feel the location of the seats,
walked down the aisle and found the seat he'd told her was empty. Then she
settled in, placed her briefcase on her lap and rested her cane against her
It had been a year since Susan, thirty-four, became blind. Due to a
medical misdiagnosis she had been rendered sightless, and she was suddenly thrown into a world of darkness, anger, frustration and self-pity.
Once a fiercely independent woman, Susan now felt condemned by this terrible twist of fate to become a powerless, helpless burden on everyone around her. How could this have happened to me? she would plead, her heart knotted with anger. But no matter how much she cried or ranted or prayed, she knew the painful truth, her sight was never going to return. A cloud of depression hung over Susan's once optimistic spirit. Just getting through each day was an exercise in frustration and exhaustion. And all she had to cling to was her husband Mark.
Mark was an Air Force officer and he loved Susan with all of his heart.
When she first lost her sight, he watched her sink into despair and was
determined to help his wife gain the strength and confidence she needed to become independent again. Mark's military background had trained him well to deal with sensitive situations, and yet he knew this was the most difficult battle he would ever face. Finally, Susan felt ready to return to her job, but how would she get there? She used to take the bus, but was now too frightened to get around the city by herself. Mark volunteered to drive her to work each day, even though they worked at opposite ends of the city.
At first, this comforted Susan and fulfilled Mark's need to protect his
sightless wife who was so insecure about performing the slightest task.
Soon, however, Mark realized that this arrangement wasn't working--it was hectic, and costly. Susan is going to have to start taking the bus again, he
admitted to himself. But just the thought of mentioning it to her made him
cringe. She was still so fragile, so angry. How would she react? Just as
Mark predicted, Susan was horrified at the idea of taking the bus again. "I'm blind!" she responded bitterly. "How am I supposed to know where I'm going? I feel like you're abandoning me." Mark's heart broke to hear these words, but he knew what had to be done. He promised Susan that each morning and evening he would ride the bus with her, for as long as it took, until she got the hang of it.
And that is exactly what happened. For two solid weeks, Mark, military
uniform and all, accompanied Susan to and from work each day. He taught her how to rely on her other senses, specifically her hearing, to determine
where she was and how to adapt to her new environment. He helped her
befriend the bus drivers who could watch out for her, and save her a seat.
He made her laugh, even on those not-so-good days when she would trip
exiting the bus, or drop her briefcase. Each morning they made the journey
together, and Mark would take a cab back to his office. Although this
routine was even more costly and exhausting than the previous one, Mark knew it was only a matter of time before Susan would be able to ride the bus on her own. He believed in her, in the Susan he used to know before she'd lost her sight, who wasn't afraid of any challenge and who would never, ever quit.
Finally, Susan decided that she was ready to try the trip on her own.
Monday morning arrived, and before she left, she threw her arms around Mark, her temporary bus riding companion, her husband, and her best friend. Her eyes filled with tears of gratitude for his loyalty, his patience, his love. She said good-bye, and for the first time, they went their separate ways. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday... Each day on her own went perfectly, and Susan had never felt better. She was doing it! She was going to work all by herself!
On Friday morning, Susan took the bus to work as usual. As she was
paying for her fare to exit the bus, the driver said, "Boy, I sure envy
you." Susan wasn't sure if the driver was speaking to her or not. After
all, who on earth would ever envy a blind woman who had struggled just to
find the courage to live for the past year? Curious, she asked the driver,
"Why do you say that you envy me?" The driver responded, "It must feel so good to be taken care of and protected like you are." Susan had no idea what the driver was talking about, and asked again, "What do you mean?" The driver answered, "You know, every morning for the past week, a fine looking gentleman in a military uniform has been standing across the corner watching you when you get off the bus. He makes sure you cross the street safely and he watches you until you enter your office building. Then he blows you a kiss, gives you a little salute and walks away. You are one lucky lady."
Tears of happiness poured down Susan's cheeks. For although she couldn't physically see him, she had always felt Mark's presence. She was lucky, so lucky, for he had given her a gift more powerful than sight, a gift she didn't need to see to believe --the gift of love that can bring light where there had been darkness.
God watches over us in just the same way. We may not know He is
present. We may not be able to see His face, but He is there nonetheless! Be blessed in this thought: "God Loves You--even when you are not looking."
Always Say A Prayer
This stanza added by Harriet Beecher Stowe:
When we've been there ten thousand years...
Bright shining as the sun...
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
Than when we'd just begun.
Through many dangers, toils and snares...
I have already come...
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far...
And Grace shall lead me home...
We all have come so very far in this life...
And with each step... each moment...
All the joy... all the strife...
No matter what our beliefs are...
We know that there is an ineffable amazing grace
That brings us through times when we feel
We cannot go on one more moment... one more step.
The moemnts or months or years that our lives are so deeply furrowed...
With worry and stress... Wild with fear... Crazed with grief...
Feeling so utterly alone... and helpless... and frightened...
That is when we cry out loud... or go within ourselves...
And call upon the God, The Great Mystery, the Creator,
The HIGHer power of our deepest understanding...
That is when we come to know... Amazing Grace...
That is when we feel 'the peace that passes all understanding'
That is when we know...
We are only as strong as our strongest belief
And as weak as our most sickening fear...
That is when a friend...
Comes riding down the hill in the rain on a bicycle...
When you have just collapsed into the terrifying pain of the most alone moment you have ever known in your life. When you have just cried out to God... "I cannot face this alone!!!!!" You look up... and there is your friend riding toward you on his bicycle.
Another friend says...
"Don't worry about what you owe me... It is forgiven." When you are so tied in knots about your financial mess... you cannot see your way to even think about buying a loaf of bread.
A friend you have not even seen for nearly 20 years...
Calls you and says... "I hear you are looking for a place to stay... Let me help you." and this friend literally buys a small mobile home for you to live in and helps with living expenses until you can manage on your own once again.
Yet another friend...
Calls you and says, "What's for lunch? I'm right around the corner... how do I get to your home?" and you realize this friend just drove nearly 100 miles to visit you.
I am so very humbly and well and truly grateful for all of you...
We have helped each other through so many dangers, toils and snares... and we have celebrated the sweet and strong victories in each others' lives over the years.
Here is to the Amazing Grace of our love and friendship...
I know that even when we are not in touch so often as we once might have been... that we all watch over each others' lives in our hearts... just like the husband in this story... we are mindful of the treasure of true friendship... and we watch over it with tender love and care. And, just like the wife... we are always so amazed when we become aware... of how our family and friends watch over us in their hearts.