“The Lord Strengthened Me”


When John Newton lost his wife, Polly, his reaction was not what people expected. The next day he resumed his duties as a pastor, including preaching three sermons and also preaching her funeral sermon. As he wrote to a friend shortly after Polly’s death, “The Lord strengthened me, and I was strong. … It was the Lord’s doing, and it was marvelous in my own eyes and in the eyes of my friends. Indeed some who knew me not said it was overdone and charged me with a want of feelings.” Through many writings and sermons afterwards, it was clear he felt great joy over the knowledge that Polly was saved and now living in heaven (Jonathan Aitken, John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace [Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2013], 331). Newton, like David, did not respond to grief the way people expected but his reaction was rooted in his faith and hope in God.