1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
David Sailhamer was one of my best friends in seminary at Southeastern. David is the son of my favorite professor, Dr. John Sailhamer. David was born with Down Syndrome. While he may be weak in the eyes of the world, he is strong in the eyes of God. And that is what I admire most about him, hence our friendship. David loves Jesus with his whole heart.
Each year when David’s birthday rolls around, all he asks for are commentaries and books about the Bible. He loves the word of God, and he loves to hear the word of God preached. In fact, that is what he desires to be—a preacher!
We had chapel three times a week at Southeastern, and David would always save me a seat. One morning, I was in the library studying for a Hebrew exam that Dr. Sailhamer was going to be giving us following the chapel service. By the way, David worked in the library. His responsibility was to pick up trash and make sure all the books on the shelves were lined up correctly. On this particular morning, David came up to me with a big smile and said, “I’m going to be saving a seat for you in chapel!” I said, “David, I’m not going to be able to make chapel today, because I need to study some more for your Dad’s Hebrew exam.” Based on the expression on his face, you would have thought I had called him an ugly name. With a painful look in his eyes, he asked me, “Don’t you want to hear what God is going to say today in chapel?”
Needless to say, I was sitting beside David when the chapel service began.
And, of course, the Lord spoke to me through the chapel speaker about something I was going through. If it were not for David convicting me to be there, I would have missed out on what the Lord desired to communicate to me.
God uses the weak. God is attracted to humility. He looks down upon this world, and His heart is drawn to those who are hurting, who are lonely, who are helpless, and who are weak. He promises His perfect, incomprehensible peace. He chooses to use men and women, who are considered nothing to the world, to accomplish His purposes.
In Hebrews 11, we learn about the value of such people to God. Verses 37 and 38 state that “they went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.”
God said that the world was not worthy of these lowly, weak people of faith. But they had great worth in the eyes of God! While David Sailhamer cherishes the Word of God, Dr. Bart Ehrman, American New Testament scholar, and currently the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, believes the Bible is full of contradictions, errors, and myths. He uses his position to destroy the faith of the many students who enter his classroom each year actually believing in the Scriptures. But I wonder who has peace?
One day, God will show the world who is worthy of heaven, and we have a glimpse of that lovely eternity through the coming of the Prince of Peace! Isaiah 25:8 states, “The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken.” One day, and perhaps very soon, what the world values will be disgraced, and what God values will be honored.
I told Dr. Sailhamer one day, “I can’t wait to get to heaven, because then, David will be like us.” He gently corrected me. “Russ, when we get to heaven, we will be like David.” David has such a humble spirit, and God used him to teach me a lesson in humility. And it’s this peace that leads us to peace that surpasses all understanding.
Paul tells us in Philippians 4:6, “The Lord is Near! Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation with prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God. And the peace that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
In fact, Paul is believed to have some type of physical infirmity. Often God allows circumstances or physical infirmities to make us weak. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10 states, “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I hope you take the opportunity this Christmas season to anticipate Jesus, our humble Savior, coming into the world. Even in the midst of hardship, trials, and heartache, know that the Prince of Peace came to save us, and He’s coming again to usher us in to Heaven. In the meantime, lean into your weakness, because in your weakness, you qualify for God’s grace! It is because you are weak that God can use you.