Keep Calm and Read a Psalm 116:6-7:
“The Lord preserves the simple;
I was brought low, and He saved me.
Return to your rest, O my soul,
For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.”
Not to brag or anything, but I like to consider myself a superhero.
I don’t like coffee. Therefore, I do not drink the vile substance (forgive me). Thus, I do not have any caffeine to give me that morning boost. But at the same time I’m a busy college student, taking nineteen credits with early morning classes. Sounds like a recipe for disaster. Or a recipe for a good nap in class, right?
Wrong. Cuz I’m a superhero. I have never fallen asleep in class. I have never fallen asleep in chapel. I have never fallen asleep in the car. Yea verily, I physically CANNOT fall asleep anywhere, except in my bed at my house. And you guessed it—I don’t even take naps! Like, ever. How in the world do I do it? Like I said, I’m a superhero. Call me Captain College!
But there was one time when I literally could not help but fall asleep. It was coming back from Africa this summer. Two nine-hour flights. Jet lag and more time changes than time (does that make sense?). I slept some of the first flight, but on the second into Newark, I couldn’t even think about sleeping, due to rumors of a bomb threat (no joke). But then we picked up our last flight—a tiny little jet into Atlanta. Now, at first I began to doodle. But then a feeling came over me that I have never felt before or since. Total and utter exhaustion. Before I knew what was happening—zzzzzz!
I was told later that I had been out cold for that flight. I awoke in Atlanta, where we were picked up by a van that would take us back to the wonderful world of South Carolina. Again, I had no intention of falling asleep, but—zzzzzzzzzzzzz!
I hate to say it, but even Captain College has his kryptonite. Speaking of which, right now, as I write this after an especially long week, late night, and lots of tests, I feel—ZZZZZZZZZ!
Whoa, I’m back! What did I miss?
Anyway, I’m sure you’ve all experienced similar moments of complete exhaustion. And I was reminded of those feelings recently when I was singing the wonderful old hymn, “Jesus Paid It All.”
“I hear the Savior say,
‘Thy strength indeed is small.
Child of weakness, watch and pray.
Find in Me thine all in all.’”
Child of weakness. Wow. What powerful words. In those moments of exhaustion, I certainly felt like a child of weakness. Yet, in this incredible hymn, the writer is drawing out the contrast between our utter inability and Christ’s unlimited ability. He truly paid it ALL. Every sin you’ve ever committed. Don’t let that be cliché. That’s a phrase of cosmic conclusions! My sin is paid for! Over. Done. Completely satisfied. That stain is washed white as snow! But did my own efforts lead to such a radical transformation? Was it my pious words of wisdom? My coming forward at an invitation? My being raised in a Christian home? No way!
Our strength INDEED is small. Tiny. Puny. We can barely stay awake in class, much less save our own selves. BUT CHRIST—oh, the glory and grace!—HE IS STRONG. We can find in Him our ALL IN ALL. At the moment of salvation, He was our all in all. We could do nothing to earn it. He paid for it all. But now, even after receiving Christ, we are still children of weakness. We must still watch and pray. We must still rely on our all in all.
Consider the words from our Psalm today: “the LORD preserves the simple.” The naïve. Those who don’t know any better. Those who are desperately lost. In other words…us! He preserves us—literally, guards us. We are just weak, little naïve children. But God is our Protector. Not only that, but when “I was brought low, He saved me.” Brought low has the idea of becoming thin. Like streams drying up. Like when your last strength dries up. In that moment, God saves you!
Do you feel weak? If you’re not currently asleep on the keys, you should nod. We all are. We are all children of weakness. We are all “brought low.” Let us watch and pray to the One Who is our all in all. The One Whose strength is made perfect in weakness.
The One Who paid it all. The ALL IN ALL to Whom we owe ALL.
-Matthew W., SC