Wednesday, March 11

What's in a Name?

I don't know why, but for as long as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by names. I love to know what names mean, or what the story behind a name is. I very distinctly remember when I found out what my name means.

I was in Primary class in Sabbath school, and one of our teachers had decided to get plaques with each of our names and their meanings to hang in the classroom. I looked at my brothers' and my friends' names and what they meant, and I was intrigued. Rex- King; Kevin- One of Kindness; Brooke- Lives by the Stream; Stephen- Crowned One; Melissa- Honey Bee.  And then, I saw my name-- Kristin- A Christian. I was quite disappointed. My name meant practically just what it sounded like, and to me at the age of seven or eight, it sounded very boring. I wanted my name's meaning to sound elegant, or at the very least to sound interesting, like Full of Grace, or One of Harmony, or almost anything else. Christian? Really? How mediocre.

Recently for my morning devotions, I have been reading in Isaiah; it is one of my favorite books in the Bible, and as I've been reading, I have noticed that names are important to God too.

"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, you are mine.'" Isaiah 43:1

"'Fear not, for I am with you. . . I will gather you. . . everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.'" Isaiah 43:5-7

"'For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams. This one will say, "I am the Lord's," another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, "The Lord's," and name himself by the name of Israel.'" Isaiah 44:3-5

"Who among you fears the LORD and obeys the voice of his servant? Let him who walks in darkness and has no light trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God." Isaiah 50:10

He specifically tells Isaiah to tell Israel that they have been called by name and by God's name. God points out that they are to trust in His name and pronounces a future blessing on Israel's descendants who identify themselves with God's name and the name of His chosen people, Israel. God uses names to provide an identity and a sense of belonging to Him.

God even has a special regard for the names of those who do not consider themselves His own. God prophesied through Isaiah to Cyrus, King of Persia who had yet to be born. This is what God said to him: "I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hoards in secret places, that you may know that it is I, the LORD, the God of Israel, who call you by your name. For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me." Isaiah 45:3-4

Verses like these speak to me; they speak of belonging and love. They speak of trust. They speak of promises and blessings, comfort and peace. God calls me by name. I mean something to Him. I am of worth. He desires me to be called by His name and to trust that His name means something. It means home and security. And most of all it means love.

Since my Primary Sabbath school days, I have changed my opinion about my name and have come to truly appreciate its meaning and the honor that it carries.

Kristin Michelle- A Christian, One who is Like God.

And by God's grace, each day I am striving to live up to my name.