Despite being a bed-ridden invalid for much of her life, Lydia Baxter (1809-1874) was known for her radiant personality and cheerful disposition. Her home was known as a gathering place for preachers, evangelists, song-leaders, and Christian workers, who came to her for inspiration and advice. But those who came within the influence of her lovely Christian spirit, marveled at the way she bore her pain, endured her physical agony, and refused to let it crush her or make her any less Christian. For that reason, they came to visit her constantly, not so much to give her encouragement and comfort, as to receive from her some added buoyancy for themselves.
"Lydia," one of her most intimate friends used to confess, "We are not here to cheer you up. You don't need cheering up, but we do. And we are here so you, the sick one, can give us a little of your zest and so some of your wonderful faith can rub off on the rest of' us."
She would smile trying to ignore those flattering words, and quickly turn the conversation to another topic of common interest.
"How do you do it?" others would ask, as they marveled at the way she triumphed over pain and confinement.
"I have some very special armour," she would reply.
"A secret weapon?" her friends would jokingly ask.
"Oh, no," she would say. "You see, I have the name of Jesus, and I use that name as my special protection. When the tempter tries to make me blue or despondent, I mention the name of Jesus, and he can't get through to tempt me anymore. When I feel badly, and wonder if I will ever enjoy getting a good night's sleep, I take the name of Jesus and ask him to give me the soothing balm of his presence, and I soon drop off to sleep. The name "Jesus" means Saviour and it comes from the same Hebrew root from which the names Joshua and Joash come. When I remember that, and all that the name of Jesus signifies about the nature or personality of God, I can conquer any foe." Her life gave evidence of the reality of her faith, and soon her friends were searching the scriptures to find out more about the name of Jesus which was so precious to their mutual friend and fellow church member.
Mrs. Baxter was an avid student of the Bible. Studying it enabled her to understand the significance of the name Jesus and appreciate its meaning and power in a wonderful way. "The name of Jesus represents the personality and character of Jesus in all his mighty power," she stated to her companions and fellow Bible students. "When Jesus stated that 'where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them' (Matthew 18:20), he meant that they were assembled together in his spirit for the purpose of glorifying him and expanding his work in the world. When the people shouted when he made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest' (Matthew 21:9), they meant that Jesus came as the Lord, for the name represented the character of the Lord. John wrote his gospel so many might 'have life through his name' (John 20:30) which meant that they might have life in Him.' God's name was to be holy and hallowed as God himself was holy and hallowed. When we call on the name of the Lord, we call on the Lord himself and when we are baptized in his name (Acts 8:16), we are baptized into his death (Romans 6:3). He promised his followers "that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you" (John 15:16), suggesting that such a prayer would be in keeping with his divine nature as well as his teachings to his disciples. The apostles early preached that "there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12} except the name of Jesus, the character and ministry and personality of the risen Lord and Saviour. In Philippians 2:9-11 Paul wrote that "Wherefore God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name that at the name of ,Jesus every knee should bow of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
Out of her own experience as well as her constant study of the Bible, Lydia Baxter in 1870, wrote a poem which William H. Doane set to music. It gave the Christian world its finest gospel song of "The Name of Jesus." Her poem began:
"Take the name of Jesus with .you,
Child of sorrow and woe;
It will joy and comfort give you;
Take it then where'er you go.
Precious name, 0 how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heaven."
In her poem, His name was a shield against every foe, a source of constant, abiding joy and the guarantee of everlasting life in heaven. While some of the names we bear are names that divide us, others are names that unite us. And the name above every name to unite all God's sheep into one sheepfold is the name of Jesus. The apostle Paul in Colossians 3:17 proclaimed, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." I admonish my fellow Christians everywhere to take the name of Jesus with you all the way.