Lord, You Know

26 10 2011

Sarah and Jesse Hale

We met Jesse and Sarah for breakfast at Noshville, a popular local eatery near Vanderbilt University, before heading to the studio at Cross Point Church’s Bellevue campus to make this video. As we savored great coffee and toasted bagels we discussed MIKESCHAIR‘s upcoming release, A Beautiful Life (now available!), their Music with a Mission Tour, and their plans to go to Honduras with Carmen Brown and listeners from The Joy FM in Tampa, FL — a week-long trip in cooperation with Buckner International to provide new shoes for orphans.

Jesse and MIKESCHAIR had participated in the annual trip before, but Sarah would be joining the team for the first time. She expressed her excitement and some of her fears, and we promised our prayers and support.

They returned from Honduras mid-September, and a few days ago we received a long, thoughtful letter from Sarah detailing their experiences. Over the course of the week, their team had visited a number of orphanages, usually with only a few hours to spend at each. The band played music, and team members interacted with children while they awaited their turn to be fitted for shoes.

The plight and suffering of many of these children broke Sarah’s heart. Her entire letter was deeply moving, but one part of it absolutely undid me. I’ll let you read it in Sarah’s words:

In the afternoon, we headed to a government orphanage. Those are two words that don’t work well together. We were told that this was one of the worst orphanages in Central America. In truth, it was more or less a place for the government to sweep kids off the street and under the rug—a prison. When we pulled up and I saw the walls, the barbed wire, the building, and the bleakness, I nearly lost it. There were children living here behind these walls, children who were abandoned, children who were alone . . .

She wrote of her particular group’s assignment in the orphanage and their sense of helplessness at the sight of obvious neglect and disease, and then concluded with this:

It was about time to leave (the people in charge of the orphanage were not very welcoming and didn’t want us there to begin with). But before we left, the women in my group heard that there was a baby room, so we all decided to run up to visit them before heading back to the bus. We ran up the stairs and into the nursery. There on the floor, about 8 to 10 babies began crawling towards us. Many more babies were up in cribs in the back of the room. No adult to be found. Our hearts BROKE. The despair was overwhelming, and in the 5 short minutes we had, we tried to hold and love as many babies as we could. We didn’t want to leave.

When we couldn’t stay any longer, all we could do is lay the babies in their cribs and walk to the bus. I could feel my heart tearing as we left them. . . . I was one of the last ones walking out, so Jesse waited for me outside the bus. I fell into his arms and gave up. I couldn’t hold the tears anymore. My heart was completely broken. I didn’t know it, but Jesse had spent most of his time that afternoon in the baby room, playing his violin over the little ones and holding and praying for each of them. It was an experience that both of us will never forget. We will always remember and pray for those babies.

And then, through eyes already blurred with tears, this photo. I was slain.

Jesse holding one of the babies. Photo by Carmen Brown

The picture — this perfectly beautiful child sleeping in his arms — and the mental image of Jesse and his violin ushering the very presence of heaven into that room. I can’t stand it. I’m crying again typing these words. I’ve cried every time I’ve thought about it or spoken about it, and when I responded to Sarah, prayers poured through my fingers, spontaneous, erupting from the ache, Oh, Lord Christ, have mercy on these precious little ones! You see. Please, Lord. Open hearts. Open my heart.

It all feels so hopeless and me, so helpless, and suddenly I’m Ezekiel, standing in a valley full of dry bones, very dry. There are too many, Lord, and who is equal to this vast expanse of brokenness?

And then the question comes, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

O Lord GOD, You know.

Prophesy to the breath, Son of man. 

Prophesy to the breath! And I remember this quote:

“The letters of the name of God in Hebrew… are infrequently pronounced Yahweh. But in truth they are inutterable….

This word {YHWH} is the sound of breathing.

The holiest name in the world, the Name of Creator, is the sound of your own breathing. That these letters are unpronounceable is no accident. Just as it is no accident that they are also the root letters of the Hebrew verb ‘to be’… God’s name is name of Being itself.

~Rabbi Lawrence Kushner

We utter His Name with every breath, a Name that means I AM, and the name, Jesse? “God exists.”

Who is equal to this brokenness? Lord, You know. You know about orphans in Honduras and children trafficked into slavery and the tiniest sparrow that falls unseen by human eyes. You know.

Nothing is too difficult for Him, and the One who sent his servant to Honduras, placed him in that room and anointed his music to bless, He is able to give them breath and raise them up, an exceedingly great army.

The need is too great for me, but I will refuse to shut my eyes. I will let Him squeeze me until the wine runs red and break me like bread for the hungry. The need is too great for me, but it is not mine to meet. It is His. As Sarah wrote at the end of her letter, He is the One who multiplies the fish and loaves. Ours is to take what He gives and distribute it as He directs.

Son of man, can these bones live? A room full of babies in an orphanage in Honduras, each one declaring His Name with every breath.

“And they lived, and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army.”

I believe, Lord. I do. Help my unbelief.

* * *

Exploring the practice of faith today with Ann. And please read Carmen’s account of the baby room and Jesse’s music. You really must. And have plenty of tissues handy. You will need them.



9 responses

26 10 2011

This is just beautiful, Jeanne. So moving. Thank you.

26 10 2011
Barbara Thayer

Powerful and heartbreaking all at once Jeanne. The thought of the little children can rend any heart. Oh how our Lord cries over these little ones He made for His glory. Thank you for sharing this precious story with us.

27 10 2011
Grace Romjue

Mom, my heart is breaking after reading your words and Sarah’s words here. Tears are running down my face thinking of these beautiful little ones who are living in neglect, abandonment and aloneness… when they are meant for love, nurture and care. Of course, I think of Harper and cannot imagine her in a similar situation. My heart screams at the thought of it! Each one is as precious as she is.
May the ache inspire us to reach out in compassion in as many ways as we can.
I love you. Grace

27 10 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

This broke my heart, Jeanne.

“The need is too great for me, but I will refuse to shut my eyes. I will let Him squeeze me until the wine runs red and break me like bread for the hungry. The need is too great for me, but it is not mine to meet. It is His. As Sarah wrote at the end of her letter, He is the One who multiplies the fish and loaves. Ours is to take what He gives and distribute it as He directs.”

All we can do is all we can do…but do it, we must.

I’m off to read Carmen’s account now.

Thank you for sharing this, dear friend.

Much love,

27 10 2011
Patricia (Pollywog Creek)

I just finished reading Carmen’s post. Speechless. I can barely breathe.

27 10 2011
Helen Hill Bogus

Oh, Heavenly Father, please make a way for these babies, where there seems no way. We ask for a miracle & for your intervention. Bring your servants into the lives of these precious babies & provide for them. Raise them up to be mighty in your Kingdom, Lord. Thank you, Father.

27 10 2011


28 10 2011

I can feel the desperation of not being able to fulfill this tremendous need. My heart breaks for her.

29 10 2011
Adrienne H.

Unfortunately, in more countries than just Honduras are babies uncared for by an adult… even in America.

Your comments are a gift. Please know I read each one with gratitude.

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