Lessons from Hymns: The Blessing of Weakness

Sometimes we sing the words to a song so many times that they begin to lose their meaning. That’s certainly the case for me with the hymn, “Jesus Paid it All.” It’s possible that it’s the song I’ve sung the most times in my life. But when I take the time to really think about the lyrics, it still leaves me amazed at what God has done for me, especially the first verse. There is so much truth and beauty in these words:

I hear the savior say
Thy strength indeed is small
Child of weakness, watch and pray
Find in me thine all in all

Jesus sees us as we actually are. In the grand scheme of things, every single one of us is weak. We have very little strength. We are all broken and sinful and helpless. We may think we put up a good facade for those around us. We may have even tricked ourselves. But Jesus sees what is true about us. Our weaknesses and flaws are not hidden from Jesus. But instead of holding those things against us, he invites us to participate in his strength.

Jesus’ love for us does not stop when he sees how broken we really are. Acknowledging our own weakness is actually our first step in letting the gospel transform our lives. We don’t have to struggle in our own strength. Through the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we can live and work in Christ’s power.

And not only is Jesus all-powerful, but he also understands our weakness. In his incarnation, he experienced weakness in the same way we do. We don’t need to be embarrassed about our weaknesses and limitations. Jesus had them, too.

Hebrews 4:15-16 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

What does this mean for us practically? It means that we need to stop pretending everything’s okay when it’s not. We need to talk about our emotions, and not just the happy ones. We need to ask for help from Christ and our church. We don’t need to be afraid of being seen as weak. We need to lean into the loving grace and strength of a savior who accepts us into his family exactly as we are.