Sunday, August 07, 2005

Dedication of Joah Wang Zhen Min

On Saturday 16 July 2005 3.08pm (BST), a bundle of cells emerged from the warm comfort of its mother's womb into the cold Brit world. [I lack that bizzare instinct to fondle small objects with proportionately big heads. But with a wary eye on militant females gushing about the cuteness of such objects, it is conceded that the bundle of cells did not appear to suffer from any outward deformities.]

Its His parents named him Joah Wang Zhen Min. In his birth announcement, they wrote:
his name Joah is found in the bible at 2 Kings 18, and it means "brother of the LORD" (Hebrew: YO'AV). For a fuller explanation, read Romans 8 and Hebrews 2:10f. The Chinese name translates justice (zhen) and mercy (min). Because at the cross of Jesus Christ, God's justice and mercy were poured out. And because of that cross, we have much reason to rejoice.

It is a truly wonderful name because until and unless Joah changes his given name, it will forever serve as a reminder to him of the great truth of the gospel and for the rest of his life, it will speak the gospel to all enquirers.

Every time Joah writes his Chinese name on his exercise books and on administrative forms, he will be reminded of his own rebellion against God and God's great demonstration of both his justice and mercy in Jesus' death on the cross. Even if he decides not to follow in the faith of his parents, his own name will always stand as a stinging testimony against him, pricking him every now and then with its neatly encapsulated truth.

And every time Chinese teachers or giggling gaggles of girls ask the meaning behind his name and why his parents chose it for him, his reply would be evangelistic, another opportunity to speak of the great danger humanity is in because of their rebellion against their Creator and the great wrath that they face when God deals justly with them. But at the same time, the great salvation that is offered by trusting that the same angry and just God has given his own Son to take the punishment for us so that we are saved from our rightful sentence of eternal death.

At Emmanuel Wimbledon, Joah's father and mother dedicated him to the Lord today, and committed themselves to bringing him up in truth. What will the future hold for this little one? Will he acknowledge God as God and live under his rule and be God's instrument in the salvation of others by encouraging them to do the same? Or will he, despite the best efforts of his parents and their love and godly modelling, be deceived by the foolishness of the world and be lost forever and destroy others with him?

Dear child, you've only just begun on your life's journey. May you grow to understand and acknowledge the truth of your own Chinese name. May you not break your parents' hearts. May you mature fully rooted in God's word and in love for him and his family, able to weather all the deceptions of the world. And may we as your parents' family-in-Christ always love you and never push you off that straight and narrow path by teaching you to love yourself more than you love God. And may God turn your heart and mind to himself.

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