Thursday, December 31, 2015

A New Name for a New Year

by Danetta Kellar

In the very place where they were once named Nobody, they will be named God’s Somebody. Hosea 1:10 (The Message)

I once knew a girl who was ashamed of her name. 

It was an unusual name, an uncommon name, a name which caused others to ask its origin. When the unavoidable question came, the girl would avert her eyes and mumble a soft explanation that left the questioner confused but with the distinctly uncomfortable impression that this topic was complicated.

Her name had been given in haste, created by two people who found themselves in more trouble than they anticipated with a baby they had not planned. In the middle of a dark and chilly night, they escaped together to another place where no one knew them, and there she was born in relative anonymity. 

A few short years later the child’s name was changed again, but only by a few letters. The few who had known her from the beginning insisted on calling her the original name, and this confused her as she grew older. 

Who am I really? she wondered to herself. Whoever I am, I am dirty and bring shame to others, she concluded.

As she became a woman, the girl with the name became better at explaining her name to others, or at least dismissing the question of its origin with a simple and deflective answer. 

One day, as she was searching for Hope, she came across words which caused her breath to stop in her lungs, her heart to pause its shameful marching beat

In the very place where they were once named Nobody, they will be named God’s Somebody. Hosea 1:10 (The Message)

When she was able to breathe again, she found more. 

I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, “You are my servant. I have chosen you and have not rejected you. Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you  and help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:9-10 (NIV)

Those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:5 (NIV)

Instead of their shame, My people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs. Isaiah 61:7 (NIV)

Slowly, like the sun rising over the sea in winter, hope began to grow upon the horizon of this young girl’s life. She began to walk with new meaning, and the shame which shrouded her name for so long began to fall away, replaced by value, by purpose, by purity. 

Though its form remained the same, some transaction had occurred in the heavenly realms which completely transformed this old, shameful name into a new name, a name that bore honor, a name that brought joy. 

Its bearer had been redeemed by One who had known shame and disgrace, and He had paid the price for its just restoration.

Jesus, the Name above all names, had called her His own.

That young girl is a woman now, and she walks in much freedom and joy today. Now when someone asks her the meaning of her unusual name, she looks at them directly and tells them a story of hope.

Many of us are like that young girl, walking in shame and wishing our past was different. 

We feel branded, like someone unjustly enslaved to the sins of others or paying for our own foolish mistakes and repetitive failures. When asked who we are, we look away and mumble something that sounds approving, admirable, but in our hearts we fear that we are nothing, really.

There is a message of hope for every Nobody this new year. 

A Savior has come to bind up the broken hearted, to bring good news to the poor, to set captives free, to release prisoners from darkness. He will give them a new name, and they will be known as God’s Somebody. 

(see Isaiah 61:1-3)

It would be a marvelous thing to get a new name this new year. Make a list of your names, the ones your heart whispers to you on the hard days, the ones that fill you with frustration, despair or discouragement. Bring your list to the Lord, and ask Him who you really are, who together with Him you will become. 

Listen for His true name for you. Accepted, not Rejected. Beautiful, not Ugly. Loved, not Abandoned. Brave, not Fearful. 

May you know with certainty that you are His very special Somebody as you ring in 2016. Happy New Year to you dear reader!

Have you been given a new name? Share your story!


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