Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Standing By A Purpose True"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 139:1,13,16 – O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. (NLT)
For the first two weeks of my life, I was not called Alice, my present name. My parents were trying out the name Helen. They must not have been sure about it, because there was no definite mention of a name in the early letters to my grandmother back in Czechoslovakia. I discovered this interesting fact only recently after reading these letters myself.
As a newborn, I didn't adapt well to the prescribed feeding hours of the day, which were too far apart for my liking. In the middle of the night, my dad would walk me back and forth until I was finally allowed to feed and could go back to sleep. My dad longed to change my destiny from a fretful, crying baby to something more positive. He consulted his big dictionary, where there was a section called Most Common English Christian Names, with names for boys and girls, and their meanings and origins. He chose the name Alice, meaning "noble cheer", and Ida, meaning "happy". He hoped that I would live up to my new names. He hoped that I would become the embodiment of cheer, giving joy and gladness, and become happy. He blessed me with these wonderful names. After I settled down to a better schedule, my name was official — Alice Ida — and it was registered two months after my birth.
Even though at first my parents didn't know my real name, I'm glad that God did. He knew all about me. He even knew me before I was born, because He is not bound by time or space. He knew my personality, and what I would look like. He knew everything that would happen to me. He was with me every moment of my life, even when I hadn't yet acknowledged Him.
My father wanted me to behave in a different way, so he gave me a new name. God had a plan for me as well. He wanted me in His family. He wanted me as a daughter. Within the framework of my life, and through Jesus' death and resurrection, I came to understand how I could have my sins forgiven and be born again. By a conscious decision, I became a child of God and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven. I had a new identity.
Just as my new name, Alice Ida, was registered where I was born in Singapore, when I was born again, I was registered in The Lamb's Book of Life, the registry of the kingdom of God. I'm now a citizen of Canada, but more importantly, a citizen of heaven, which endures for all eternity.
Have I lived up to my name, communicating gladness, comfort, and encouragement to others? Am I always happy? Well, that's a work in progress! The big question that we all need to ask ourselves is "Am I communicating to others my status as a member of the family of God?" Everyone needs to know that God knows their name and wants them to belong to Him, too.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You know us and everything about us. You know us so intimately, that even before we were born, You knew what we would become. Help us to share this truth with others, so that they, too, may become Your children, and belong to Your family. Amen.