What a Powerful Name it Is…







Blog 3


It is a typical morning in Jinja, maybe a little cooler than most recent mornings thanks to a gentle breeze off the lake. But with the equatorial sun burning through the few remaining clouds in the sky, the oppressive heat promises to be back in full force sooner than I would like. I am sitting on the veranda of an old house turned into a clinic with a referral letter in my hand for a little patient who sits wide eyed in my lap. I met her less than 24 hours ago due to unfortunate circumstances that are all too common here, and during her medical check up some blood work came back suggesting she may be HIV positive, requiring further testing. So, we are here at a facility specializing in diagnosing and treatment of the disease.


Patient after patient join us to wait in a row of chairs. Some children play quietly at our feet, and the adults converse in the local language. Most people don’t appear ill. Those are the fortunate ones; the ones who are likely responding positively to the medication being taken to suppress the virus that is trying to destroy their body. I’m feeling encouraged by these people, hopeful that eventually death from this horrible illness will be rare, or even better that one day there will be a cure.


And then I see her.


Twelve, maybe thirteen years old, literally a walking skeleton draped with only a thin covering of skin. Skin that held exposed sores. No muscle mass. Sunken eyes. Empty gaze. Protruding cheekbones. Patches of discolored hair missing. She was waiting for her paperwork from the front desk and was becoming too weak to stand. The other girl with her, maybe an older sister, supports her until she can make it to a chair. I look away because staring seems rude, but then I realize I also don’t want to see her. It’s disturbing and heart breaking, and I have a thousand other things to think about, like the one on my lap. But it’s too late. Her face is forever in my mind now.


Hoping to replace the image with something else, my eyes wander across the street to a hospital where I see a line of people waiting to be seen. Hoping for help. Praying there will be medicine and even doctors there today.


And then I look down at the baby lying in my arms who is completely unaware of what is occurring, and how these results could affect the rest of her life.


I feel the emotion begin welling up in my spirit. I’m angry, but I don’t even know with whom. I am overwhelmed,  and sad for all the stories like these that play out day after day.


I begin to ask the same questions of the Lord that I always ask when I try so hard to find Him in this mess. Why do children suffer? Why do people and systems who oppress the weak continue to get away with their injustices? Are you seeing all of this?


The little girl in my lap is growing restless. I hit the music app on my phone and then press play on the next song in the playlist of newly downloaded songs, hoping it will distract and comfort her as we continue to wait. Instead, the lyrics pour out peace like a soothing salve to my own aching soul…



You didn’t want heaven without us,

So Jesus you brought heaven down,

My sin was great, Your love was greater,

What could separate us now?


What a wonderful name it is,

What a wonderful name it is,

The name of Jesus Christ my King,

What a wonderful name it is,

And nothing compares to this,

What a wonderful name it is,

The name of Jesus.


Death could not hold You,

The veil tore before You,

You silenced the boast,

Of sin and grave,

The heavens are roaring,

The praise of Your glory,

For You are raised to life again,

You have no rival, You have no equal,

Now and forever God You reign,

Yours is the kingdom,

Yours is the glory, Yours is the name above all names


What a powerful name it is…


(Hillsong United:: What a Beautiful Name)



And I hear him gently speak to my heart:


This world is a mess. It has been ever since paradise was lost. Thanks to sin and an enemy with nothing but plans to seek, kill, and destroy, this planet is subject to every manner of hurt, illness, injustice, and hardship. No human being is left unscarred by this war that you were born into, and I know each and every one. But this is why I came. To redeem what was lost. To restore what was broken. And the day is coming when all of this will be made right. There is hope. And it is ME.


The lady sitting next to me touches my arm, startling me slightly.


“That’s nice music!  Thanks for playing it. It is full of hope; I love it.”

I smile at her… “I think so too.”


Our name is called…


The results are NEGATIVE.


What a powerful name it is indeed. Jesus. One full of hope for all things to be made new, and the only one that is the answer to all these things that are sometimes too hard to stare in the face. This is the name of the only One who can bring beauty out of the ashes, the One who gives me the privilege of seeing His glory in the most unlikely of places.


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