before the sun goes down

"Be of good courage, and let us behave ourselves valiantly for our people, and for the cities of our God: and let the LORD do that which is good in His sight" (I Chronicles 19:13).

Saturday, September 27, 2014

What's in a Name? William Livingstone Samuel, for Instance?

Two years ago, on this day, our family faced a tragedy.  We were 21 weeks along in our second pregnancy, and Deana, Tirzah, and I were expecting the arrival of the little one on February 9th of 2013.  But the birthday of our child came much sooner.  Our first son was born on September 28th in the afternoon in 2012, already departed to glory.  His name was William Livingstone Samuel, the name we had previously determined.

I well remember holding his little lifeless form in my hand, tears rushing down my cheeks.  Even at such a young age (it is thought that he passed away at 17 weeks), he was so wonderfully made, with a sweet face, little fingers and toes, perfect down to the little bone in his ankle.  The nurses were so kind, and worked hard to get his footprints for us--we treasure that precious card today.

We wept over his death with many tears, and still miss him every day.  But God is our Comfort, and His word was and is faithful to console and strengthen our hearts.  My little son's life was not in vain. God has used even this evil thing to do much good.  The brief life of my boy has provoked me to good zeal and even more earnest desire to rescue other babies whose lives are at stake.  I do not know how many times I have shared my loss with parents at the abortion mill.  And it has helped me better understand and stirred me to come alongside others who are hurting with a similar pain.

We now have two children on this earth, Tirzah and our second son, Edward.  We love all our children, and will welcome any more God chooses to send us.  And how I look forward to seeing William again, when I get Home (I Samuel 12:23)!

Today, I wanted to share about his name in honor of his birthday.  Anyone who knows me is aware that I like names.  Names are significant.  They have meanings, nuances, and can be influenced by other people that bear the same name.

His first name is William, which when dissected, is Will + Helm, as in a helmet.  Thus the meaning for this name has been rendered, "Constant Protector; Determined or Strong Guardian".  Deana has always loved this name, and I highly esteem many Williams that I know.  It is a old and noble name, denoting royalty and integrity.  You may know about William the Conqueror (AD 1028-1087) the
Norman king, who took and reigned over England.  A lot of kings, princes, dukes, and knights have borne that name in courts and in battles.  Therefore we chose it for our son.

There have been many Williams in history, a good number of which were defenders.  Here are a few of my heroes named William:
William Wallace - AD 1270-1305
warrior; the greatest patriot of Scotland, who yielded his life for his country!
William Tell - Circa AD 1307
patriot; crossbow shooting folk hero of Swiss history!
William Tyndale - AD 1494-1536
translator; martyr; defender of the holy, infallible word of God for the common people!
Dean John William Burgon - AD 1813-1888
pastor; dean; champion of the Bible; humble student and staunch defender of the Scriptures!
William Booth - AD 1829-1912
preacher; defender of the poor and the vulnerable, seeker of souls!
William Wilberforce - AD 1759-1833
abolitionist; battled against the British slave trade, the evil of his day!
William Borden - AD 1887-1913
missionary; gave all for his Saviour - "NO RESERVES, NO RETREATS, NO REGRETS"

I also love that this name was the name of six of the 56 valiant men who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, pledging their lives, fortunes, and sacred honour, to see their land and people have liberty.

William Whipple - New Hampshire
William Ellery - Rhode Island
William Williams - Connecticut
William Floyd - New York
William Paca - Maryland
William Hooper - North Carolina

William was given two middle names.  There are so many great names, I couldn't have just one!

We wanted each of our children to have a name of a great missionary, with which to challenge them in their lives. For William we decided on Livingstone, in honour of my childhood hero, the courageous and "forward-minded" missionary, David Livingstone (AD 1813-1873), who gave his all to see interior Africa opened up to the Gospel.  You can read more about him in another blog post of mine here! 

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the true "Living Stone" (I Peter 2:4), and we desired that our son would reflect the Redeemer, disallowed of men, but precious to God.  Christians also, as the redeemed, are called "lively stones" (I Peter 2:5).  In William's corner, where his body rests, there is a large stone, found in Wyoming by my dear parents and siblings, and laid there in memory of him.

We also wanted distinctively Bible names, and we picked Samuel.  His name means "asked of God" or "heard of God."  Samuel was one of the two greatest leaders of the nation of Israel, alongside Moses.  His name is mentioned 142 times in the Bible.

Moses and Samuel are highlighted in Scripture as men who were not only incredible leaders, but also men of prayer and mighty intercessors for their people.  For an example of each, consider Exodus 17:8-15 for Moses, and I Samuel 7:7-13 for Samuel.  Below are two verses that reveal the power of their appeals.
Psalm 99:6 "Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon the LORD, and he answered them."
Jeremiah 15:1 "Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth."

Samuel was the only man in the Bible about which it is specifically said "...the LORD...did let none of his words fall to the ground" (I Samuel 3:19).  Samuel's words were true and carried through because Samuel was speaking what he heard from the LORD.  "Know now that there shall fall unto the earth nothing of the word of the LORD..." (II Kings 10:10).

Samuel served the LORD from his weaning to his death.  He was the last of the judges, and anointed the first two kings of Israel.  He was a prophet who foretold of the coming Messiah.
Acts 3:24 "Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days."

I don't have space here to write all that the Lord did through Samuel.  You can search the Scriptures for more.  Suffice it to say, he was a hero of faith, as it is said in God's Hall of Faith... "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:" (Hebrew 11:32).

Before he was born, the biblical Samuel was dedicated to the LORD.  I Samuel 1:11,22,28 "I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life...I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide forever...I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD."  As with each of our children, we had dedicated our little Samuel to serve the Lord Jesus Christ all the days of his life, little knowing that his life would be so brief, and that he would "appear before the LORD" ahead of us.

How I yearned to have a William, a defender of the weak, a staunch protector of life!
I wanted to raise a little Livingstone to go FORWARD for Christ!  To dare for His God!
I desired to see a little Samuel grow, to speak the words of God and stand in the gap for others!

So what am I to say?

It would be easy to blame God and shake my fist.  It would be natural to pity myself and spend my time in bitter grief.  But then Satan gets a foothold, and I cannot allow any ground for the devil in my life (Ephesians 4:27).  The fact is, "...I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (II Timothy 1:12).  I know that in this world cursed by sin, there is trouble, suffering, and death.  That the Christian life is going to involve persecution, sorrow, and affliction.  I do not always have to understand my God, but I can always trust Him.  "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him" (Job 13:15).  His word is true, no matter how I feel.  "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28).

So in faith, Deana and I can smile, even through tears at times.  Watch what our God will do!  "The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD" (Job 1:29).

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