Pathways through Lent

Just as I Am

Psalm 46 Isaiah 55:6-11 Romans 3:21-28 John 15:1-11

We were two days out of St John’s, Newfoundland, when the radar showed six storms encircling us and bearing down fast. We took in sail, donned our foul- weather gear, and clipped ourselves onto the jackline ringing the ship. I was at the wheel as the waves swelled 25 feet high, the wind louder than a buzz saw. I was 16 years old, terrified and—I thought—clueless.

The captain’s calm words of encouragement jolted me out of my stupor. I remembered my training, steered straight ahead, met the waves head on, and guided the schooner safely through.

Seven years later, I joined the parish choir at St. John’s as a soprano. Soon I found myself navigating a personal storm of my own. During these struggles, the choir was my jackline; though scared and unsure whether I belonged, I clipped in weekly. One Sunday, we sang Ben Hutto’s arrangement of Just As I Am:

Just as I am, though tossed about

With many a conflict, many a doubt

Fightings and fears within, without,

O Lamb of God, I come.

Ben’s arrangement nearly brought me to my knees. Instantly, I knew I was wholly acceptable in God’s sight and that the solid ground I sought had always been within me. Once again, I steered myself straight ahead, met my storm head on, and made it safely through.

That moment sustains me still. God meets us where we are, as we are. And, when we truly need to listen, God speaks to us through people we already know.

–Caroline Baxter



2 thoughts on “Just as I Am”

  1. This is really beautiful! It is nice to read a story about struggle — internal and external — and know we are not alone. God is with us, and if we look around, we are with each other. Thanks for this.

  2. The title captured my eye instantly and the piece, well known to our choir went spinning through my head as I read this beautiful passage. How lucky we are to have music and each other and a loving community within St. John’s in which to share God’s blessing.

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