Letter to River

“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'” (John 7:37b-38, NASB)

Wendy is now almost 38 weeks pregnant, and the baby could be popping out within the next 2 or 3 weeks. We have had a hard time coming up with a name for our second son, but in the process of my recent study on heart-oriented discipline, God showed me a fitting name: River. So just as I did with Chase before, I’d like to write a letter to River that he could read in the future where he would understand his name:

To my dear son River:

You are a gift from God to us, and we have been anticipating your arrival into this world, into our family, and into our hearts for the past nine months. I hope that some day you will be reading this letter to understand why we give you the name River.

Your name, River, is not a reference to what kind of person we hope you to be, but rather on whom you trust as the main shaping influence of your life. People often say, “You should trust your heart.” However, the Bible warns that the heart is deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9), while at the same time it says that the heart is the wellspring of life (Proverbs 4:23). What could point this “wellspring” toward a godly path? The answer is to live by the Holy Spirit. Jesus said that whoever believes in Him shall have rivers of living water flowing within him. What He’s referring to is the Holy Spirit’s indwelling (John 7:37-39). So, when you make choices in life, ask yourself: “Am I trusting in the inclinations of the human mind or the inclinations of the Holy Spirit (rivers of living water)?”

Furthermore, Psalm 65:9, which is the verse your Chinese name ( 陳天霖) is based on, tells us that the river is God’s river. Bible commentator Matthew Henry wrote of Psalm 65:9, saying, “Our hearts are dry and barren unless God Himself be as the dew to us and water us.” Any river should be focused and determined to flow in the direction that God designs it to flow toward. River, yearn to be used by God as His river, so that you will be the channel of His presence, His blessing, and His healing (Revelation 22:1-4).

Ultimately your name should be a constant reminder to you that your life is not your own. Instead of drifting through life, you must submit your life to a higher power. And even though you are biologically our son, we want to raise you, River, as if we are stewards raising a child of God, because He is your true Father and your true source of life.

I hope you love the gift of your name.


Your dad

Also see:
My Son, Your Name Is Chase


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