22 Jul 2012

What's in a Name?

Names are interesting things... in today's society we pride ourselves on 'creativity' in naming our children. That's not a bad thing, indeed God created us to be creative! But in biblical times names seemed to carry deeper meaning, sometimes even humorous.

Jacob => Hairy
Esau => Grabby
Isaac => "he laughs" (because his dad, Abraham laughed @God)
Nabal => fool

Another name story I have found interesting is that of Naomi in the Bible (which means pleasant), who changed her name to Mara (bitter) after she suffered the deaths of her husband and her two sons (see Book of Ruth).

Elias Jonathan

So the newest addition to our family, our second son, we named Elias Jonathan.  Here's a little about why...

Elias is actually a form of the name Elijah, the 9th-century prophet of Israel and means ‘Yahweh is God’.  We like the name for a few reasons, the first being that it works well in both Polish (Eliasz) & English (Elias) which is important to us because well, our kids will most likely be living in between two worlds for most of their lives.  Secondly it is an old 'family name' that belonged to Ben's great grandfather.  But mostly we love who Elias was as a man of God and prophet. One book I read said,
"...he is first of all a man of action and his Spirit-determined movements defy human anticipation".  What a statement! How we pray that our son would be a "man of action", living by "Spirit-determined movements" which exceed and defy human anticipation!

There are basically six "stories" or episodes in the life of the Elias and the majority of them are concerned with the clash between the worship of Yahweh and Baal, a false God in Israel.  Elias was passionate for God's name and fame among the people! (see: 1 Kings 17-19, 21, 2 Kings 1-2).

As much as we want our kids to have biblical models of people who passionately followed Jesus, and fought for the glory of God's name, we also want them to have 'real life' examples of the same.

That is where his middle name comes in - Jonathan.  We named our second son after one of our best friends from our days in Dallas, Jonathan Woodlief.  What a passion Jonathan has for Jesus, the lost and the world! Ben and Jonathan quickly became great friends and Jonathan married one of my roommates and best friends, Caitlin.  They were both involved in our wedding and Jonathan was the master of ceremonies at our wedding.  As we were leaving Dallas, Jonathan's kidney (a previous transplant) started to fail.  They went ahead and got married anyways, not knowing what the future held but trusting in a trustworthy Savior. God is still writing their story, which is TRULY miraculous and amazing! You can read their story here - HelpHOPELive or ABCNews.

We have been SO encouraged by Jonathan's faith.  Both him and Caitlin have used his kidney failure and health problems to constantly point people towards Jesus.  After reading his updates we would be more encouraged, not because the 'prognosis looked good', but because of how good God is - even when life is hard.  Our greatest hope is that our son would grow up to be like Jesus... but in terms of an earthly model ~ we hope that Elias' passion for the Lord, and faith in trial look something like Uncle Jonathan's!