“We can’t name our baby after a dog!” Phil replied in an exasperated voice.
“But I named our first dog “Abigail” because it was my favorite name,” I explained.
Those of you who know our family know that our third daughter and fourth child has the beautiful name – Abigail.
By the time we had our third daughter, Phil’s resistance to the name had faded along with the memory of that first dog. She was a Bassett Hound that wandered into our lives, and then wandered out after we paid vet bills for shots and surgery to have her spayed.
I’ve never thought of our daughter being named after a dog.
The name ‘Abigail’ has a Hebrew origin and means ‘source of joy’. Our Abigail has certainly been a source of joy for our family and many others who know her. I recently read that Abigail and Hannah, (our first daughter’s name) have been among the most popular English female names for the past several years. The WEB sites on which I looked this information up varied slightly – but Abigail and Hannah were in the top 20 on all three lists.
When we chose those names, we thought we were being unique – little did we know.
Yet once you name a child something – the name begins to fit them – or does the child begin to fit the name?
God puts significant importance in names. He sometimes changed an individual’s name because of an important change in their life.
Abram became Abraham
Sarai became Sarah
Jacob became Israel
Saul became Paul
Jacob’s name change was the result of a struggle he had with God.
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 humans 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.
The part that impressed me in this passage was verse 28 – “you have struggled with God and with humans and have OVERCOME”. (emphasis mine)
God changed Jacob’s name to a name that meant “he struggles with God”.
I am encouraged by this passage because Jacob struggled and didn’t stop until he received a blessing. Jacob was even injured physically and limped afterwards because of this struggle – so much for us thinking that walking with God is a stroll through the park!
Many of us are struggling right now.
We may feel like we are in the midst of a wrestling match with one of our children, our spouse, our in-laws, a grandchild, or even God.
Hang in there! Don’t give up until you sense God’s blessing!
We will sense God’s blessing in our lives – not when we get what we want – but when we KNOW and trust that God is faithful to take on our struggle for us. He gave us His only son Jesus –
Philippians 2:8-11 (NLT)
8 He humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
9 Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.