What’s in a Name?

What’s your name?  How many times do we hear that question asked over the course of a lifetime? 

Our names are composed of a word or words by which we are known, addressed, and referred to.  Those names indicate a mark in the world of who we are.  Our names identify us to set us apart from other people.  Signing an important document with our names testifies to who we are. With our own hand, we make a mark on paper to testify that the name placed there represents us as an individual.  But we are more than just names.  Things go deeper. 

My name is Francee.  My name is a combination of parts taken from the first names of my mother and father.  My first name is rare, and only once have I ever encountered someone by the same name and with the same spelling.   I saw a similar name on some merchandise as a few years before I was born there was a doll by the same name, albeit with a different spelling.  I moved on through childhood not thinking too much about my name other than feeling weird because no one else had my name.  

While a name testifies to the identity of who we are, there may be an attachment to the name to offer further details.  If we carry the same name as a parent, the name “Junior” or “The Second” may be added on.  There might be an indicator preceding our name to indicate marital status.  If we are certified with a degree or operate within a particular career, there may be an assortment of letters after our last name to signify this.  We may also possess various names which never get written onto paper.  We may be called mom, boss, brother, teacher, friend, or customer number 53.  But all of these particular names and titles only touch on part of who we are.  These names are about how we relate with other people.  But what about the deeper part of each of us?  What about our souls?

How we live testifies to who we are.  But what testifies to whose we are?  How are we known, and who knows us at the level of our souls? 

Before the foundation of the world, God had a plan for our lives.  Before we were in our mothers’ wombs, He knew us.  He knew the names by which we would be called, and He knew the people we would become.  And He loved us and reached out to have a relationship with each of us.  He sent His son Jesus to make His Name known.  Jesus took on the name of Savior of the World.  He became the Messiah.  The Redeemer.  The Atonement.  His is the Name above all names.  And there is a future of hope and promise in His Name.  He is the soon and coming King.  And He is everlasting. 

Yes, He knows our names.  Do we know His?  When we respond to His name with our souls, it will change our names—it will change our lives—both now and for all eternity.  If we choose to get to know Him, He will write our names in the Book of Life, and we will dwell with Him forever once our earthly lives end.  But until that day comes, we will also get to have a variety of new names and experience the identity that comes with each one.  We will be known as forgiven, redeemed, beloved, a child of the Most High God, an heir with Christ, and a member of the family of God.  We will be called His own, and nothing will ever pluck us from His hand.

What’s your name?

~~~~~

Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9–11 NKJV)

~~~~~

©Text and photo Francee Strain, October 18, 2020

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