Driving down the dusty Mississippi roads, the old car bumped and rattled. The sound of tires crunching on gravel, and the smell of loblolly pine wafting through the open window, bringing back old memories. Memories of rocking his son in the chairs on the screened porch and watching fireflies in the twilight, twinkling through the pines.
But those memories didn’t last long. He’d left Mississippi and his unhappy marriage, and made his way to the oil fields of Texas. A man has to make a living. He hated leaving his first born child, but the baby’s mama wouldn’t part with her family to join him. The marriage ended in divorce.
It’s time, he thought. I haven’t seen my son since he was a toddler. After 18 years, it’s time.
He had sent letters and small gifts to his son when money was available. Many of those were returned unopened. But it was time. His son was a high school graduate, a man now. Hattiesburg High School, class of 1938. His heart swelled with pride, that his boy had finished school.
He’d heard through friends and family that the boy had taken his step-father’s last name. Did his son even know he had a father? Had his mother told him anything? They said his son worked at the local Lance distributor. He would go there after the boy’s shift, and meet him.
There he is! That’s the one they had pointed out to him. That’s his boy! He squashed his nerves down, walked over, extended his hand.
“Son, my name’s Robert Eason. Have you ever heard of me?”
“Son, I’m your Dad…”
And so goes the story of my grandfather, and the day he met his son, my Daddy.
That wonderful story was told time and time again when I was growing up. I never got tired of hearing it. It never got boring to hear how much Granddad loved Daddy. I never got tired of hearing that the name under Daddy’s picture in his high school yearbook was not his own. Daddy didn’t even know he was living under an assumed identity. Not until he met his father.
Isn’t it a beautiful picture of our heavenly Father’s love for us? God will never stop pursuing us. He wants to be reconciled to us. He will even hunt us down! When He finds us, when we finally know our Father, He gives us a new name. God sent us a gift in His Son Jesus Christ. When we accept this gift, we have a new identity in Christ.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. 1 John 3:1 (NIV)
And my Daddy’s response? It should be the response of us all. Daddy embraced his new name and family. He accepted the timeless gift of his father’s love. He and my Granddad built a beautiful, strong relationship through the years. Daddy never again went back to the old name he had known growing up. Forever after, he was his father’s son.
How many of us continue to believe the lie of our false identity, even after we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior, and met our real Father? How many of us continue to think thoughts like this: “There is NO WAY God can take away this quaking fear I have of public speaking? I’ve prayed about it, but it’s still there.”
I have, how about you? Are you continuing to walk in your old identity? The one that calls you Fearful, Less Than, Unworthy?
Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him. Colossians 2:6 (HCSB)
It’s time. Let’s stand tall, put on our new name, and walk confidently in it!
Grace be with you,