Thursday, March 3, 2016

Tobiah ~ God is good

The meaning of my children's names and the process and prayers that go into choosing them are extremely important to me.  Tobiah means "God is good."  In Hebrew, which makes it even cooler. :)  This is a message that came up in my heart and in things I was reading over and over again during my pregnancy.  It is what we want our little family to proclaim as we welcome a new life into the world and always.  And is something we want to proclaim over our precious son and pray that he will hold onto throughout his life.

There is a lot of not-good-ness when looking around our country and our world, and I definitely had my moments of "Why are we bringing a child into this? How are we possibly going to be able to raise him well?"  I remember having these thoughts with my other pregnancies, and I would bet that mothers throughout history have as well, because that whole "not-good" thing has shifted how it looks as time advances, but has been there since the Fall.  But this time around I worked through the answers more.
Some of my favorite verses are Psalm 8:1-2: "Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger."  I think about it and share it with kid a lot regarding kids praising and worshiping.  But a book I have been reading talks about it specifically in regards to babies, how life itself is grace and mercy!  Everything could have ended when sin, and so death, first entered the world.  But it didn't.  We are allowed to have children, to create and continue life, to know what it is to live and love.
"This little baby bears the image of the Holy One.  On the cosmic stage of God's glory displayed in the universe, the infant's cries silence the insolent boasts of God's enemy.  God ordained that life would continue despite the Devil's decrepit handmaiden, death.  God granted that eternal life prevail through his Son, who rose victorious from the grave, never to see decay.  God gives this eternal life away as a gift to those who would trust in his Son.  Life is here to stay forever."  --Gloria Furman, Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full
Madeline L'Engle talks about this too in her book about Genesis, And It Was Good. How the way to fight against what is scary and ugly in our world is to see creation as God meant it to be, what He has given us and invited us to be a part of.  "If I affirm that the universe was created by a power of love, and that all creation is good, I am not proclaiming safety. . . . Love is worth that risk, and so is birth, its fulfillment."  Bringing a child into the world declares a belief in life and goodness not because everything happening in the world is good, but because God and His design is. And it is even in the midst of a world tainted by sin and death.
"This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And nova lightning the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late,
That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honor & truth were trampled by scorn--
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.
When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by greed & pride the sky is torn--
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth."

Along with all those kinds of thoughts swirling around inside my head, this conversation with Noah also kind of sealed the deal in the name choosing.  (I told him this and his response was, "well, I don't know if that is the name I would pick."  But someday he is going to think it is super cool, right? Right.)

With all of this, the song "God Is So Good" has been very special and one Tobiah has heard many times already.
It is extra special because of memories attached to it of my wonderful mentor Wendell who recently passed away.  I picture him in the downstairs dining hall at camp leading everyone in this song each time I hear it.  I do not have words to express how dear those times are to me and how much they have affected who I am today. 
To add to that, the Sunday before Tobiah was born I thought on the way to church, "we are going to sing 'God Is So Good' today, I just know it."  (And I had not peeked at my pastor husband's order of worship to know this, either... ;)  And guess what, we did.
The note in the picture is one that Wendell wrote.  It says, "Jesus creates life.  Jesus offers life.  Jesus fulfills life."
"In a world where fewer and fewer people believe in God at all, where life is for so many an unimportant accident with no meaning, where we are born only to slip back into annihilation, we need to stop arguing and affirm the goodness of creation, and the power of love which holds us all." ~Madeline L'Engle
A baby's hair swirl, that distinct "baby smell" of a newborn that is gone all too soon, tiny wrinkly fingers and toes, the fierce love of a parent for their child, to me these things affirm the goodness of creation and of my God as loudly as possible. 

I am so thankful for the life and goodness that has come into our home through our precious son.
Tobiah!  God is good!