Friday, January 22, 2010

Our son's name

There could be no better way to start off my blog than to give the story behind our soon-to-be-here son's name, Jacob Logan Greer.

In 1997, I turned 16 and started 10th grade at which time Brandi and I were already dating. There was a revival at our church, which deserves its own post, and in the months leading up to and immediately after, God began to show me the full extent of what he could accomplish through my life.

In the spring of 1998, I developed a painful swelling in my hip from what I believe to be a long jump injury. It caused an audible pop when I lowered my leg and enough chronic pain to land me on Vioxx.

Later that year in Sunday school, I read the story of Jacob and a particular part, Genesis 32:22-32, caught my attention.

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak." But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." 27 The man asked him, "What is your name?" "Jacob," he answered. 28 Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome." 29 Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." 31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon.

The prayerful conversation then went something like this.

God: I'm giving you lessons and blessings that you will need the rest of your life, and your hip will be a reminder of what I have done for you.

Me: That's great, but can it be a reminder without the pain? The enormity of these lessons and the reminder I'll have would make Jacob a great name for a son some day.

God: Sounds good.

However, in my head, I was still thinking the wrestling match with God. In fact, I'm still thinking about it and even though Rembrandt might disagree, I'm pretty sure it looked something like this.

Or this.  It could go either way.

Now fast forward to 2009 when Brandi and I are studying the Old testament and being led to have another baby. Before we got past Noah, Brandi was standing at the sink in the kitchen and said that God told her, "His name is Jacob." Now keep in mind that at this point we did not know we were pregnant yet, but after that we didn't need a stick test. Just like He did with Chaselyn, God gave us both the same name quite independently, so we knew this is the right name. As we got into studying Jacob, Brandi pointed out that since God picked the name he could be quite the little toot. However, strong willed children can be shaped into men that will fight God for abundant blessing and do great things, so if that is the task He has for us then He will surely give us the grace and guidance to do it well.

Now for the middle name, it is somewhat of a tradition in Brandi's family for the first son's middle name to be the father's first name. Now my first name is David which reminds me to tell you to MAKE YOUR CHILD'S FIRST NAME WHAT YOU WILL CALL THEM. Anyways, we thought about using Stanton, and if we knew we would never have another boy we might have been more inclined to stick with it. While having my son named after me would be nice, my name is far less important than a name with a great legacy behind it.

In 2006, my mother's cousin's husband whom I guess would be my second cousin-in-law, Jack Logan, was on a mission trip in Nicaragua when a fishing boat he was in coming back from a worship service capsized in Lake Nicaragua. Jack and the other missionary he was with, Bert Alexander, were able to grab a cooler from the boat. When two boys from the local family were hanging onto the capsized boat, Jack and Bert got them onto the cooler where they drifted for several days before the cooler started taking on water. It became clear that they could not all stay. Jack, having the greatest love possible for these boys, said his goodbyes, gave a final encouragement and message for his wife, and pushed away from the cooler. Bert also push away later when the cooler would not support three.

At Jack's memorial service, when we were supposed to be singing It is Well with My Soul I was literally speechless. I absolutely could not make a sound. Given the circumstances, this hymn inspired by a family's drowning about accepting God plan for life even though it might include drowning was quite unnerving. Just look at this verse.

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

Here is press about the search, the service and their legacies. Part of that legacy is the impact their sacrifice has had on so many that knew them, so many more than if they had even lived to be 100. No less than once a week I think about that sacrifice and it refocuses my efforts each day to work in all that I do for His glory and it reminds me that my real job is to do whatever He puts before me this day, no matter what it is. This is the legacy I want my son to share in, to know Jack's family and how it has impacted our lives. A legacy that will grow in him an understanding of true sacrifice that points him and others to Jesus.