Today, I am desperately missing my little boy. Even though we only had nine months with him, there are so many things I loved about him, and one of those was his name. When Charlie was born, one of my first thoughts was, “Oh how I longed to say his name.” To whisper it when he was sleeping, to say his name when we prayed together at the dinner table, to yell for him to come inside and finally take a bath before bedtime. I LOVED the name Charlie and was so sad about all of the moments we would no longer have to get to say his beautiful, wonderful name.
I felt a lot more attached to Charlie’s name than I did to the other kids names because, interestingly enough, Charlie is the only baby we called by name in the womb. We didn’t find out what we were having with Emma and Fred, and we just didn’t call Sophie by name. But Charlie was “baby Charlie,” and we prayed for him by name and talked about him as a family every single day. Now…I know why.
What we didn’t know though is what the name “Charlie” means. For each of our other kids, we knew from the beginning even before we named them. We knew that each of their names spoke something great about God when they were all put together. Emma means “universal.” Sophie means “wise.” Fred means “Ruler.” How beautiful is that! God…the Universal, Wise Ruler.
I realized this week that we didn’t even know the meaning of Charlie’s name. I so badly wanted his name to fit him, but at this point I knew that this was his name, whatever it means. And so…I googled it. And there over google God met me.
Charlie’s name also says something very special about our great God.
Char * lie: “free man, strong.”
As I read those words, tears poured down my face. Our little Charlie is free. He is a free man. Free from the bonds of sin and death that this world brings. Free from pain and suffering.
And strong…that one hits even closer to home. One of my very favorite moments was holding baby Charlie and singing “Jesus Loves Me” to him.
“Little ones to Him belong…they are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so.”
Babies are naturally so very fragile to begin with, and as I held our baby’s precious body, he seemed so very very weak. And yet, now, our precious Charlie is strong. Safe in the arms of God…he is finally, finally strong.
And so…as I think on our Universal Wise Ruler who did not give us what we wanted and is asking us to trust Him with every excruciating breath we take today…I am reminded through our sweet Charlie’s life that this God we are wrestling with…He makes His children free men, strong.
Hours after we found out what Charlie’s name means a friend sent us some passages of Scripture to meditate on that day. She didn’t know what we had just learned about Charlie’s name, but the Lord did. And as we read the verse she had sent us, we wept knowing yet again how kind and specifically the Lord loves us and meets us on this journey of suffering…
Here is what our friend had written word for word:
“You will be strong and free of fear. You will forget your misery. It will all be gone like water under the bridge. You will have courage because you will have hope. You will be protected and will rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid…” (Job 11: 15b, 16, 18 – 19b NLT)
Because of the universal, wise Ruler who makes us free and strong,