Amazing Grace shall always be my song of praise
For it was grace that bought my liberty
I do not know just how He came to love me so
He looked beyond my faults and saw my need
I shall forever lift mine eyes to Calvary
To view the cross where Jesus died for me
How marvellous the grace that caught my falling soul
He looked beyond my faults and saw my need
If not for grace, my soul would be a drifting ship
With no safe harbor from the angry waves
But Calvary’s cross shines brightly through the darkest storm
And just in time, His mercy rescues me!
This is classic song was penned by the late Dottie Rambo around 1970. The second stanza is an addition made by David Phelps. The words ‘he looked beyond my fault and saw my need” came so strong to me today and for the rest of the day, I have mused over these words. These words pierced my heart as I sung them over and over again. I drove to places with my daughter Gloria in the car till she asked, “Dad, you seem to really like this song, are there no other songs on that CD?” I guess I had never really thought about grace being described like this. How God extended grace to me by looking beyond my faults and seeing my need – my need for a Savior, my need for forgiveness, my need for love, my need for Him.
If this is the kind of grace that God extends to me, would it not also be right to say that this is the kind of grace that I should be extending to my wife, my children and my friends and everyone.
Grace that looks beyond mistakes and sees one in need of love and attention. Grace that looks beyond the harsh words – and sees someone in need of care. God’s grace is absolutely nothing less than awesome! As true believers we need to stop every day and thank God for His grace that kept us when we were wallowing in the depths of sin and were lost and undone in all of the wrong places! Everyone needs salvation! True believers are all sinners who are saved by grace! Just as God looked beyond our faults and saw our needs, He requires us to look beyond others’ faults and to see their need for salvation! (1 Samuel 16:7), But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees: for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart”. As true believers, we are to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading when He places lost people in our pathway with whom we are to share the gospel from God’s Word! At times there can be lost people observing us, and we are unaware of their lost condition. We ought always to share the love of Jesus through our actions! Sometimes He uses us to plant the seed, and at other times He uses us to water the seed! Sometimes God leads you into so much trouble and evil so that when you return you can praise him from your heart without any personal righteousness. But be careful the big brothers may not join in your welcome party. (Romans 8:28), And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Some background story about this song
Dottie Rambo (March 2, 1934 – May 11, 2008) was an American gospel singer and songwriter. She was a Grammy and multiple Dove Award-winning artist. In the year 1970, Dottie began writing a song about the grace of God, but was unable to finish it. When her older brother was hospitalized with cancer and told that he had only weeks to live, Dottie sat by his bedside and ministered to him. Within a few days, she persuaded him to marry the woman who had borne him five children. Dottie read the Bible to him and prayed with him. So Dottie would often pray and read the Bible to her brother Eddie by his bedside. She would persuade him to give his heart to Jesus Christ. One day, after singing at a concert, she returned to ask: “Have you given your life to Jesus since I’ve been gone?” Eddie who at the time was 37, stared at her with sad eyes. “After the wicked life I’ve lived, the Lord won’t raise a person like me,” he muttered. He reminded her of his time in jail and his addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Eddie felt that the way he had lived there was no way God would take him in. The memory of his addiction to drugs and his time in jail was just too much for God to forgive, so he thought. Dottie however, reminded her brother Eddie of how the Lord left the 99 sheep and went after that one lost sheep. She continued to pray for his salvation. It was after that visit that she finished composing the song, “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need.”
Dottie had previously started writing a song about the grace of God but was unable to finish it. Now she finally finished the song. One day after singing at a concert in Ohio, she felt persuaded that Eddie gave his heart to the Lord. She visited him and he said he gave his heart to the Lord. He was very weak at his bedside and died shortly thereafter. She sang the song at his funeral and has been sung countless times thereafter.
Beyond the inspiration of the words, there is an interesting story regarding the tune of He looked beyond my fault and saw my need. Jimmie Davis who was the governor of Louisiana at the time and a southern gospel singer herself, had attended a concert in which he heard the Happy Goodmans perform. He heard them sing one of Dottie’s songs entitled, “There’s Nothing My God Can’t Do.” He enquired about the authorship of the song and the Goodmans told her Dottie Rambo wrote it. Davis contacted Rambo and he arranged for Dottie and her family to meet the governor at the mansion in Louisiana. He had Dottie to perform and as a result he offered her a publishing contract of $3000, which was more money than Dottie had ever made. Over the course of time, Davis had requested that Rambo compose a song to the tune of “Danny Boy”, which was widely considered an Irish national anthem written by Frederick Weatherly in 1910. When Dottie finished the song, “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need”, she set it to the Irish tune of “Danny Boy”, a Londonderry Air song.
Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Dottie Rambo, her husband Buck, and their daughter Reba, made up The Singing Rambos, one of the most successful southern gospel trios of all time. As the group’s main songwriter, Dottie was prolific. Today, hardly any modern hymnal fails to include one or more of her 2,500 songs. Dottie’s best-known song, by far, is the inspirational “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need.” Over the years, Dottie’s song has touched countless lives of millions of people. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, imagine where we would be today. We would be in hell.