Tea & Truth

A Wandering Mind with a Focused Heart

Jun 04, 2018

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Have you ever struggled to pay attention through a church service? I know I have! Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep, or maybe it’s just a little too warm and cozy in the sanctuary (or too cold!). Or, let’s be honest, maybe the sermon topic or delivery just didn’t grab my attention that morning.

When inspiration struck Elvina Hall mid-service one Sunday morning, she couldn’t focus any longer. Words kept coming to her, but she had nowhere to write them down. She scanned her surroundings, her gaze landing on the hymnal in the pew in front of her. The flyleaf would do just fine.

The words flowed from her pen.

I hear the Savior say,
“Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.”

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

She showed it to Pastor Schrick after the service. Just the day before, organist John Grape had given him a tune he had composed, thinking Pastor Schrick may find a use for it. The melody and poem seemed to fit quite nicely together. A hymn was born!
150 years later, we still sing “Jesus Paid It All” in churches around the world. The lyrics help us to focus on Christ’s payment for our sins and worship Him for it. I love how God worked in this circumstance. Who would have thought that a wandering mind and a “coincidental” tune would result in a song that would encourage and inspire Christians throughout time?

Today, June 4, is Elvina Hall’s 198th birthday. I do wonder what Pastor Schrick was thinking when she showed him the “desecrated” hymnal page . . . Did he ask her to replace the hymnal? Was he offended she wasn’t paying attention? Or was he simply amused at her wandering mind? Whatever the case, I guess he didn’t take it too personally.

Jessie Chamberlain
Family Radio Staff

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