A big name is a big deal in PNG. Giving someone a big name is like praising them, or affirming their status in the community. To “down” someone’s name is to slander them and hurt their reputation. Nobody likes that.
In Pal, they say, “Muni ngongo epc toalogo.” (“We will make his name big.”) This phrase appears very often in the Scripture verses that praise or honor God and in the worship songs they have written for themselves. It is good to give God a big name–there is so much to praise Him for! And I was challenged by my devotional book to make God’s name big in public. Psalm 22:22 says, “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you: ‘You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!'”
God deserves a big name for everything he does for us. Recently, part of our family was on its way to play volleyball, and we were stopped at the gate in our car while two neighbor boys climbed in to join us. All of a sudden, out of the blackness, another car came rolling backward down the hill straight toward us. We didn’t have time to do anything but honk, and the car smashed into our front bumper with a giant crash and showered us with shattered glass.
Thankfully, there were no injuries for the people in either vehicle, and we got out to assess the damage. Many of you know that our car has been such a huge blessing to us since we bought it 15 months ago. It has enabled me to fill in as a teacher at the mission school and to do things like visit the clinic and go grocery shopping when Chris is away on trips. So as we carefully made our way to the front of our car we praised God to find that, although the rear of the other vehicle was fairly well crumpled and its back window was no more, our car sustained almost no damage. It’s such a tank that the only thing the other car accomplished was bending the “bull bar” slightly so that it cracked the front light casing. Our car started and runs just fine, and we were able to drive it like normal the next day! You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
God has also continued to be faithful in providing for us. Two years ago, almost to the day, I was hospitalized for a week with acute idiopathic hepatitis. Between that stay and the three ER visits in the days leading up to my admittance, we racked up some pretty impressive bills in a very short time. We ceased to be impressed, however, when the bills kept coming for months and even years afterward, with the latest coming just within the last month. We thought we were done paying bills and were just starting to feel like we could afford Christmas presents for the kids when we were presented with a bill for almost $1000. Due in three days.
My first reaction was anger, then frustration and sadness. It didn’t help that Chris was away on a trip and wasn’t there to help me bear the bad news. Anyway, I shouldn’t have worried. I should have remembered all the other times that God took care of us and trusted that he’d take care of us again. Because he did! On the day that I woke up early (16-hour time difference!) to call the hospital and pay the bill, I had a text from someone very dear to us waiting to tell me that they’d just sent a big Christmas gift to our bank account. Stand in awe of him, all you offspring of Israel!
What are you praising God for this Christmas season? We’d love to hear your story and join with you in giving God a big name.