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Amazing Grace

In the wake of the tragic massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., last April, many found inspiration from the report of Cassie Bernall. Asked at gunpoint if she believed in God, she said yes and was killed for her confession.

Michael W. Smith, the 22-time Dove Award-winning Christian musician, found that inspiration and challenge moving him to write a song. The result: "This Is Your Time," which Michael believes was directed by God.

Before including it on his album and making it the title cut, he requested permission from Brad and Misty Bernall, Cassie's parents. When he played it for them, they agreed. But Michael wasn't happy with it. "I wanted to so something different with it, but I couldn't figure out what it was.

"To make a long story short, I woke up about 3 in the morning and heard bagpipes. And I just don't wake up at 3 in the morning," Michael said. "All of a sudden I started rewriting the end of the song in my head."

He put the music on his computer the next morning, and a few weeks later he brought a bagpipe troupe into the studio. A chilling hush enveloped him as they recorded the new music.

Shortly thereafter Michael told Misty he had changed the song, adding bagpipes to the bridge and the ending. "She kind of gasped," Michael said. "I thought maybe I'd hurt her feelings. But then she told me, 'You're not going to believe what I'm going to tell you. Cassie loved bagpipes.'"

"Nobody knew that," Brad said. "For Michael to put the bagpipes in, we could only assume God was in control."

"I was out in the driveway and my knees just buckled," Michael said. "I had to lean on the wall. It floored me. I don't think that was just coincidence. I really believe that was a God thing."


Written by Andrea Vinley for the April, 2000 issue of Focus on the Family magazine


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