I believe everyone who trusts in God will never be put to shame, which is why character matters.
Now, more than ever we need to be men and women who trust and obey God’s call!
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran (Genesis 12:1-4).
Abram trusted God.
He obeyed God.
Like Abram, we have no idea how the journey will turn out. It was during the waiting that God took time to develop Abram’s character.
Abraham was 86 years old when Ishmael was born. Not Isaac. Did you catch that? Sarah waited 11 years before telling Abraham to sleep with her servant. They had to wait another 14 years before God would give them their promised son. That’s 25 years of waiting for Isaac. I’m sure by the time he was born Abraham and Sarah thought they had blown it big time by forcing things with Ishmael.
I identify with Abram because there are times when I blow it.
Times when I feel like a big fat failure.
“God sees your life from His eternal perspective. He will take whatever time is necessary to grow your character to match His assignment for you.
A small character will fail in a large responsibility every time.
Don’t be too hasty to get to the work. It took twenty-five years before God entrusted Abraham with his first son and set in motion the establishment of the nation of Israel. Yet God was true to His word, and thousands of years later people continue to be blessed by the account of Abraham’s life and by his descendant, Jesus” (Experiencing God Day by Day).
Ten years ago, I moved to San Antonio, Texas to complete a 9 ½ month long discipleship training program. I never got to finish because the Texas weather didn’t agree with my skin. I thought I failed at serving God.
My eczema flared up so badly that I lost the skin off my hands and had to come home after only 5 months. You can read more of my story in Forgiving Others, Forgiving Me.
What I haven’t shared before—is what God showed me while I was in Texas.
I remember checking out the local Christian bookstore when I first moved there. (That was before most bookstores went out of business). I browsed through all the Christian books wondering if someday I’d be featured among them. Spotting a book of name cards with the meanings of names—I flipped through to find mine.
My name, Renee, means born again. At least, that’s what the card should have said. As I reached the R names my jaw dropped. It said, Renee means Peaceful.
I had one of those “Sarah-laughing-at-God-moments.” I was not a peaceful person. In disbelief I bought that card, and kept it for many years wondering if God really did want to change my name to Peaceful.
I share my story now for two reasons.
The first is that Marc and I are moving to Austin, TX next month. The thought of returning to the land where I thought I had failed at serving God is humbling. I am not only getting a second chance, but a whole new name!
God really did want to change my name to Peaceful.
The second is that I haven’t felt any miraculous change—yet. I’m still the same person who struggles with anxiety. I still take medication daily. However, I know God is in the business of transformation.
It’s okay to wait 25 years like Abraham for the promises of God to come true!
I believe in my unbelief that God can transform my life because character matters. I also believe the same for you.
I wonder what your name means? Do you know whom God is calling you to be? Maybe your name means one thing, but He wants to transform your character because He has bigger plans for you. “Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance. And so you will inherit a double portion in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours” (Isaiah 61:7).