Has the chapter on my substitute teaching career come to an end? I don’t know. As I sit at my computer right now, typing my first blog post for a while (okay, it’s only been a little over a week), I am officially on summer vacation.
As such, I have a lot of goals, including finalizing a transfer (in-person) to Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, MO before classes start this fall. I may end up continuing to substitute teach out there, but who knows? That’s not the point of this post.
Rather, I want to dwell on a recurring thought I’ve been having. My son was born late last year. His name is Jeremiah. While my wife’s favorite Bible verse comes from the book of Jeremiah (which I preached on here), and while I’ve always related with the prophet’s emotional state (even though he wore his emotions on his sleeve, God still used him mightily), I actually chose my son’s name because of what it means: “Yahweh exalts.”1
And if we look at a passage I’ve come across repeatedly this year in my daily Bible reading, we’ll see why this is important.
Two sons were born to Joseph before the years of famine arrived. Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest at On, bore them to him. Joseph named the firstborn Manasseh, meaning, “God has made me forget all my hardship in my father’s house.” And the second son he named Ephraim, meaning, “God has made me fruitful in the land of my affliction.”Genesis 41:50–52
If you know Joseph’s story, you’ll notice that he named his children based on his life experiences. God changed his situation, and his gratitude was expressed in the naming of his sons.
Similarly, Jeremiah means “Yahweh exalts.” This is an expression of my faith and hope in God. The past ten years of my life have been a constant struggle to believe, to persevere, to choose God over myself and my desires. In the naming of my son, I declared that my ultimate faith is in God. He will exalt.
He will exalt me – there was a purpose to the struggle of the past decade.
He will exalt His Church – the infighting and division doesn’t need to continue.
He will Himself be exalted – every knee will bow.
Even though life will continue to be difficult (the prophet Jeremiah’s story ends in absolute tragedy), and even though I have no guarantee that I will ever see God’s exaltation of any of these three things in my own earthly life (Jeremiah died in Egypt after the people completely ignored the Word of the Lord through him), my purpose is to promote the exaltation of the latter two things. Even if I never have a pulpit to call my own (which I’m finally completely okay saying), I can promote the necessity of God’s Church and His Gospel—which centers on His beautiful triune-Person—through the written word (not to mention spoken word, rapped word, live online discussions, etc).
My purpose is to promote the exaltation of God, and as I do this—faithfully leaning on Him for grace and peace—I trust that I will see Him lift me up from the metaphorical ash heap.
He can lift you up as well.
In this with you.
Soli Deo Gloria
Thanks for reading
- J. A. Thompson, The Book of Jeremiah, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1980), 139.