Often times, we struggle with our sense of identity. The stories we believe about ourselves, and each other, can be based on a lie. We live our lives in fear of failure and loss. We watch the news on TV and see poverty, war and brokenness in the world around us and we begin to lose hope. We forget the promises of God; Promises of hope and peace beyond all understanding. But we aren’t alone in this. In fact, the Bible is full of stories of real people wrestling with their own identities. Jacob, Abraham, Paul, and Peter were all literally given new names by God. Joseph, David, Rahab, Ruth, Jonah and so many others in the Bible tell the stories of real people learning from their failings and going through painful struggles as they forged a new, God-blessed identity and purpose.
I believe that it is important for us to to wrestle with God through difficulties to discover the blessing of our new names. When we struggle through pain and loss and anger and disappointment and failure and cry out to God He promises to come into our lives and rescue us and bring us home. Only then do we get our new names.
And our names have great meaning.
Consider how Jacob gained his new name from the Lord (Genesis 29-32).
Jacob’s name meant “deceiver and cheat,” and he lived up to his name, cheating his brother Esau out of his birthright and deceiving his aged father. After many years of struggle, working for his father-in-law, in which Jacob experienced many family conflicts, hard times, and disappointments, he began a journey to make peace with Esau. On the way, he wrestled with God in the night, seeking his blessing, and he overcame. As a result, God renamed Jacob. Jacob became Israel, meaning “The Overcomer.”
When Jacob discovered that he wasn’t “The Cheater,” he was Israel, “The Overcomer” he lived with a new purpose and a new intimacy with God. He even became the father of an entire nation! What a name!
The gospel is an adoption story. It’s the adoption story of all adoption stories. It’s the story of a people (all of us) who were once lost, without a home and without hope. It’s the story of a loving Father taking us in and bringing us home. A Father who offers us hope, makes us a part of His inheritance and gives us brand new names of distinction – His very children.
No matter what names we have given ourselves, or the names others have called us, God has a new name for each of us. This album is all about the hope we have in our new names.