I don't know how I haven't learned my lesson - and yet I plow into these circumstances over and over with my eyes looking who knows where and missing the point of the season until it makes contact, like a 2 X4, with my consciousness.
I had my son 3 weeks ago. The minute we knew we were pregnant, I knew what the greatest name would be for a potential boy:
C. (Charles) Phinneas Flint Grapperhaus
Unlike my other children, that name could belong to a lawyer OR a rock band. I had nailed it. I was convinced and I could start filling out the birth certificate right away. My husband, having equal right to name the child, retorted:
"C. Phinneas Flint sounds like a prospector's name!"
As if that weren't bad enough he went into a dramatic monologue in what I can only assume is an old prospector's voice about a fictitious hermit gold miner named C. Phinneas Flint. I admit, it was pretty good and I laughed really hard. It was hard to be hurt or mad when his opinion was delivered in such a way. Plus, his own middle name is Jeremiah and if that's not a prospector's name then I don't know what is!
"No one sees Old Jeremiah 'cept for the once a year he comes inta town for some hard tack. Some say he's struck it rich and he's hiding it somewhere's up thar." Booyah! You got served, John!
Well, all that to say the name Flint remained and thus our son was named. But here's the catch - when one decides to make intercession a main part of what they do....or is it, when one acknowledges the intercessory calling on all believers...or is it, when one realizes that ALL THINGS are working to pull us closer to the Father and into the yoke of His son....
Anyway, the point is, that the Biblical significance that led us to name our son Flint has been creeping up in our life.
Flint: a stone used historically as a sharp edged tool. Also used in reference to Jesus setting his face "like flint" toward Jerusalem. And so, we purposefully chose the themes of covenant, consecrations (Abraham, Old Testament) and whole-hearted purpose (Jesus, New Testament).
These themes began invading our real life with planning Flint's circumcision. Now, circumcision is something we had to delve into with our first son. Do we or don't we? We weighed the medical aspects but, for us, it came down to the spiritual significance, tradition and heritage. A covenant with God Himself. Glorious poetry! The eventual act of circumcision was traumatizing. I wasn't in the room, but I was just outside the room with our daughter. It was 20-30 minutes of gut wrenching pain...FOR ME, outside the room! My poor husband was in the room with our 8 day old son and the doctor - John talks about the near faint he had in the room. Typical of circumcisions, our infant son was strapped to a board, clamped for a period of time and cut. It took forever. He screamed forever. It was awful.
How could God ask something so awful of the people He loved? I was puzzled. I experienced circumcision to be painful with a relatively low positive return. What's the point of that? I mean, for someone who mandates Leviticus to a group of people, why further burden them with a debilitating and excruciating experience. And what does that mean about God? I was beginning to accept a theology of pain. Life will be hard. All life's "seasonings" can't be sweet. Rain is as useful as sunshine, etc..
We had our son at home which makes somethings more complicated, like circumcision. We were referred to a Rabbi. I put it off for as long as I could but eventually called on Flint's 16th day. The Rabbi made the appt for that night - apparently not only is it wise to wait until the 8th day, but its also wise to not put if off much past that. I cried off and on all day. I apologized to my sweet. innocent son. I just didn't understand why.
As I hung up with the Rabbi, he referred me to his website so I can have the supplies I'd need for the baby over the next few days. Pain again. I hated thinking about this. Ok. Time to get ready for the hard thing.
Reading through his website. Wow. All the things I hated about circumcision wouldn't be involved. I mean, sure, my son's skin would be removed, but "When using a reliable Mohel, one need not worry as our procedure takes less than 20 seconds and is performed, as required by Jewish law, with minimal discomfort to the baby."
Seriously?! The law requires that its done with minimal discomfort? This was something I needed to apply to my struggle with God's personality. Something else unique to the "holistic circumcision" was that our son was held by "warm, loving hands" - while Flint lay on a pillow, John held Flint's legs back for the minute of the procedure and Flint was then immediately swaddled and comforted and given to mom. Another interesting fact from this experience is that the most painful aspect of this particular procedure is the initial separation of the skin, not the final cut.
Ah ha. Peace flooded my heart. I felt safe again with my Father God. God was proving His loving heart to me. Though life can be painful, I am held in his warm, loving hands the whole time. His grace is the pillow beneath me, His hands upon me and the embrace just after the painful moment. Not only that but the initial separation from my flesh, unholy desires, comfort measures or even the anticipation of these things is probably more painful that even the cutting away of these things. Even Jesus had his painful moments. The cross was part of Jesus' destiny.
So pain is part of life and God may even ask me to walk a path of pain, but I believe I can rely on His heart of comfort and tenderness to be present. "Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil. Your rod and your staff comfort me."
Then there are the secret and unseen ways my heart has been pricked over and over by the Lord through recent everyday circumstances to speak to me regarding having a set apart heart and life. Ah, it goes on and on.
And so I find that in the process of naming my son Flint, I have been challenged by these very themes internally and externally. And I thought I was just picking a name, not inviting a parable to invade my life.