What’s in a name?
When I was pregnant with my children…back in the dark ages…what we named them meant everything to us. I scoured baby name books, the Bible, books I was reading at the time, and listened carefully to the names of people around me. Of course, I did not want OUR child to have a common name; God forbid! Nor did I want to inadvertently name our coming bundle of joy something that meant sorrow, for Pete’s sake, as my own parents had done…or pain, as the mother of Jabez had done! Goodness! A kid could get a complex or something!
Nope, our first child, in particular, was going to have a strong and meaningful name to be carried forward proudly the rest of his life. Right before he was born, 3 weeks late, I might add, (I’m not bitter), my husband and I finally put together two Bible names that met our criteria. To be completely honest, though I am not proud to confess, we heard the first name on a television show! 😀
Which was soon shortened. And when he got into his 20’s, my eldest dropped his ‘strong, meaningful’ name and adopted a nickname to go along with his music career. A few years later, he returned to the shortened version of his name, which means, “YAHWEH is salvation.”
Our next son’s name means, “May Jehovah exalt; exalted of the Lord”. Our daughter’s name means, “dynamic, independent, industrious”.
So, what’s the big deal?
Stay with me, please…
When kids are in school, one of the first weapons they use against one another is name-calling. “He said I was dumb;” “She said I’m ugly;” “They laughed and said I was stupid”! As parents or grandparents, we patiently explain that those names do not represent who they are and in fact, are not true. Nevertheless, they hurt. The old ‘sticks and stones’ adage really doesn’t represent the truth, does it?
Then we grow up, and while we may not be called those particular names, we are called other names. I have been called “snob”, “super-spiritual”, (not in a kind way), “know-it-all”. In addition, I have been called ‘caring,’ ‘sensitive,’ ‘diligent.’
What are some names that you can remember being called? Some are painful; some are encouraging, but the fact is, none of them dictate who we are, except when we are called Christian.
Hearing a friend say our name across a crowded room of strangers is a sweet sound, sometimes washing relief over a feeling of anxiety. Hearing our name whispered endearingly by a spouse or gleefully by one of our children or grandchildren brings joy and gladness to the heart. Now think for a moment about the fact that God, the creator of all the universe and everything within it,
knows your name.
He isn’t like my father-in-law, the father of six, who often stumbled for the name of the son to whom he was speaking. (In his defense, he was usually sleep-deprived from working double shifts!)
God never sleeps, (Ps. 121:4), yet He still knows my name and yours, too – each time we call!
Isaiah 43:1 But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name.”
John 10:2-3 But He who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice, and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.
He. Knows. My. Name…and my true identity, regardless of my circumstances or what anyone else or the enemy has to say about me.
He has called us by name, and we are His, if we are called by His Name.
Now, that’s something to shout about.