Great is HIS Faithfulness: And His Name is…

I’ve been fascinated with names this year.  I have always believed that a name is a gift and should be chosen with discretion.  However, as this year has progressed, I’ve wondered if just maybe it might be even more than that–maybe more than just a gift; something that carries meaning and purpose; something that is important to the bearer, the bestower, and maybe even to the Father.  

It first struck me early in the year as I read about the high priestly garments in the book of Exodus–the shoulder pieces of his ephod and the breastpiece of judgment over his heart were both engraved with the names of the sons of Israel (Ex. 28:11- 13, 29).  But the reason given for it was what most intrigued me: “to bring them to regular remembrance before the LORD.”  Surely God doesn’t need a reminder!  Still He requested a specific act in order to bring the people into a “regular remembrance.”  I considered the importance of praying for people by name in order to bring them into a regular remembrance before His throne.  Armed with this conviction, I was determined to have names chosen by the time we learned gender so that this babe could be brought to regular remembrance before his Father by name.

On Christmas day, upon learning of the existence of this child, I knew the name…for a girl.  We would name her Faith Noelle.  The previous two plus years had been such a journey of faith for our entire family, and obviously, Noelle would commemorate the fact that she was our Christmas gift in 2017.  For a boy, we had no idea. That would surely determine the gender of this baby, I thought, as we had always chosen a name for the opposite gender.  As early as 14 weeks, we were fairly confident that our luck had followed us into this fourth pregnancy.  By 18 weeks, we were certain, still with no name to bring before the Father.

We could have just chosen one.  We had a list all along. However, with every one there was something holding us back.  Maybe I obsessed over it a bit too much, but that meaning was so important to me!  I agonized over the story of Nabal and Abigail. After watching over a very rich Nabal’s shepherds and livestock in the wilderness, David requested of him to spare any extra that he might have on hand for his men.  Nabal denied his request and returned David’s good with evil, and David determined to punish him by taking his life. When his discerning and beautiful wife Abigail interceded on his behalf, her words haunted me, “As his name is, so is he.  Nabal is his name {Nabal means fool.}, and folly is with him” (I Samuel 25:25). As his name is, so is he.  I wanted this to be said of our son one day, only from a positive perspective.

The book of First Chronicles begins with lists of genealogies (nine chapters’ worth!).  You will find detailed lists of the descendants from Adam to Abraham, from Abraham to Jacob, from each of the 12 sons of Israel.  There are genealogies and descendants of the Davidic line and that of King Saul. Needless to say, it can be rather tedious reading. However, in the midst of one of those tedious repetitive lists–the sons of ____: _____, _____, and _____; the sons of _____: _____ and _____, there’s a two-verse pause to tell the story of a man named Jabez.  According to Scripture, he was “more honorable than his brothers”.  Maybe that’s why there was more to his biography than a mention of his name.  His mother had named him Jabez because she “bore him in pain” (I Chron. 4:9). At some point later in his life, he cried out to God for blessing, that God’s hand would be with him, to keep him from harm so that it might not “bring him…pain!” (vv. 10-11).  I would say that perhaps at least Jabez assigned meaning to his name that he carried with him throughout his life.  But the crazy part? God validated this fact because He “granted what he asked.” Maybe there was more than just human superstition behind Jabez’s request.  Perhaps a name is not only meaningful but also powerful.  

No pressure.  I searched through some of my favorite Scriptures, seeking out powerful words whose Hebrew or Greek equivalent might be suitable for a name.  I found several that would make beautiful girl names.  I wrestled with the word chesed for weeks.  It is Hebrew in origin and most often translated “steadfast love” or “mercy”.  I reflected over the steadfast love that God has shown our family from the beginning, those verses in Lamentations 3 that had been so instrumental in the very early days of my healing.  Try as I might, though, I could not work it into a suitable boy’s name. I wanted meaningful, but I didn’t want to punish a child by giving him such an unusual name that no one knew how even to begin pronouncing it.

On Sunday night, July 1, our minister delivered a lesson on “The Faithfulness of God” from Lamentations 3.  From the beginning, I braced myself, knowing that this would be an emotional ride.  He spoke of the despair of the prophet Jeremiah as he looked around and saw his city, God’s city, Jerusalem, completely devastated–the houses, the streets, the very temple where God’s presence resided were left in rubble.  Oh, how I had identified with his pain as I read only months after my heart had been crushed and itself left in a pile of rubble! Yet in the middle of that chapter so filled with despair, there is hope (Lam. 3:21)!  And it begins with these memorable verses:

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

   his mercies never come to an end;

23 they are new every morning;

   great is your faithfulness.

24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

   “therefore I will hope in him.”

He spoke of the Hebrew word chesed.  There it was, in all its meaning and full of power.  They were words and ideas that I knew all too well, but hearing them all was so reaffirming.

One thing, however, that was not as familiar to me was the fact that this chapter of Lamentations was written as an acrostic.  There are 66 verses, each triplet of verses corresponding alphabetically with the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.  I thought again about verses 22-24, knowing that verse 22 began with the word chesed.  “I wonder about the Hebrew letter that corresponds with these three verses.”  I Googled it (during worship, I admit, but I was so excited!), and there it was.

                              The steadfast love the Lord never ceases;

                                                              His mercies never come to an end;

                               They are new every morning;

                                                              GREAT is your faithfulness;

                               “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul.

                                                               “Therefore, I will hope in HIM.”

I knew almost immediately that I was staring down at the name of our son.  But before I could claim it, I also knew that it had to pass the family test.  Eden has approved almost every name we’ve tossed in her direction. She’s so in love with this baby that she doesn’t even care what we call him!  Darrell said, “I like that. It’s kinda cool” (his one request in the Name Game). It even has a bit of an Old West flare to it–always a win with Darrell.  He thought it was suitable for a baby boy and a good, strong man’s name.  Eli was the hardest to convince.  Even though it was a real name and not something that I was just squeezing into the mold of something somewhat resembling a name, it was just too different, he said.  However, when I told him that as the 8th letter of the Hebrew alphabet, it also represents the number 8 (his favorite number), he was all in, too.

We are eagerly anticipating the day when we are able to introduce you formally to our fourth arrow and second son,

Chet Austin Powell

(Austin after his daddy and as a shout-out to all of his family that hails from Austin, TX). We ask, if you will, to bring him to regular remembrance by name before the LORD.  This baby serves as a reminder to us of His steadfast love that will–because we’ve lived it–remain with us regardless of what happens on the day of his birth. Truly, GREAT is the faithfulness that God has shown to us–in our brightest joy and even in our darkest despair.  But He has been our portion, and therefore we will hope in Him.

2 Replies to “Great is HIS Faithfulness: And His Name is…”

  1. I love this precious little gift from God’s name….! Chet..Chet Austin Powell! A most beautiful name for a very blessed little man that will grow into a very strong man of God!❤🙏❤

  2. Would not expect anythiing less from one of my favorite families! What an inspiing post!I am so proud of the Darrell Powell family, and the love for God tha you all show and share! My prayer is that God will continue his abundant blessings on all of you! Love y’all.

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