I consider this to to be one of my all time favorite local Christian songs, Uwezo (Ability) by Adawnage Band. I have to admit that the first time I heard this song, I fell in love with the beauty in its musical arrangement and flow. Since I do not know much about music and how to describe a good musical arrangement, allow me to get away with this description, “it is a beautifully crafted piece of music.” However, just like a person is first intrigued by the physical looks of another person before they finally get to know them and confirm whether the story lives up to the cover-page, I eventually got to pay attention to the lyrics, and I must say that I was not disappointed.
This “book” does indeed live up to its cover, and deserves to be judged thus.
Since the song is in Swahili, allow me to translate the lyrics here for the sake of non-Swahili speaking readers. The first verse describes a typical pilgrim’s heart-cry, not unlike something you may come across in the Psalms: “I have searched for the Truth about my life, and now I am asking ‘where do I start?’ All my friends have forsaken me. I cry out.. ‘Jehova Nissi, have mercy on me.'” This is the typical cry of a person whose loneliness and affliction (Psalm 27:10) in his or her quest for meaning has led them, not to the greatest books ever written on the purpose of life, but to the foot of the Cross (Psalm 51:1). The verse clearly illustrates that the search for meaning must begin with the acknowledgement that we are in need of God’s Mercy.
The Chorus effectively reinforces this gospel-centric teaching by echoing every true pilgrim’s cry for the “ability or strength to stand upon God’s Word.” Having realized that Jesus is the Truth, having acknowledged that we need God’s mercy, then our victory between our salvation and final redemption will depend upon our ability to stand upon God’s word, and this ability can only come from God (Holy Spirit) and should be rightly sought there. This brings to mind Colossians 1:28-29 which reminds us that OUR working hard is with GOD’S strength.
The second verse is like the first, but with a slightly different prayer: “I was looking for the love of my heart, and now I am asking ‘where do I start?’ Pain and bitterness engulf me. I cry out.. ‘Jehova Nissi, have mercy on me.” This is the cry of a person whose search for a worthwhile passion and heart’s desire (in the midst of pain and a lot of bitterness) has also led them to the foot of the Cross, seeking God’s Mercy. I think the verse speaks for itself.
I have to admit that this song uses very few words to communicate a message that is both timely and timeless: that our quests for answers, right passions and heart’s desires must begin with repentance, we must begin on our knees; not seeking God’s blessings, but first seeking his forgiveness. I think it is safe to say that this is a gospel song. No wonder the beauty of the Cross seems to infiltrate, not just the lyrics, but also the flow and the instrumental arrangement of this song. This is a song worth memorizing and singing along to. God bless you Adawnage, you definitely delivered the Bread in this one.
In His service and for His glory,