I don’t know the answer, but you better believe I’ll give you my best guess, good and loud!

Would you like to hear a little story? The personal blooper I have to share is taken from my early days, when I didn’t have the facts about God q-u-i-t-e straight. You’ll see what I mean…

The context of this particular moment in my history is Sunday school. I am six. I don’t remember how closely I usually followed the Bible stories that were told my class mates and I, but I certainly was not fully focused on the topic of this lesson.

I imagine the theme must have centered around Paul or, at least, allowed for one of our teachers to take a minute to question our knowledge of the conversion of this early church-builder. His exact question was “What was Paul’s name before it was Paul.”

I remember hearing it and how I reacted to the seemingly mindless question like it was yesterday. I thought, What an odd question to ask! The only thing I could come up with was that we now knew him by only Paul because his name had been shortened by the dropping of his last name.

If the man delivering this challenging question had given us any clues about the answer before he posed this test, as became clear to him from my answer, it had obviously made no real impression. I only had eyes for the beautifully frilly socks and matching white shoes of the curly-haired brunette in my class who appeared unable to help being perfect and always so still. How I wanted to be her friend…

But, I digress. Needless to say, I was completely unprepared to respond audibly. But, as a person who never likes to be caught without a response to queries of any import, I boldly ventured forth! I quickly imagined an answer in place of the truth I could not account for; a flash of revelation made me aware that Paul’s original full name could have been none other than..

Paul Coffee!

In case some of you don’t know, he was a hockey player that I heard spoken of by my dad and brothers. Surely he had some relevance in this conversation if he was mentioned so often at home, right?

Oh, the way we thought as young-uns! As a side-note, if you don’t know anything about Paul’s name change or why it came about, you can read the account in Acts 9. Here you will find Christ staging one of His dramatic interventions into the misdirected course of a man He loved too much to let alone. I pray that as you read, the details that pertain to Paul’s identity will be shadowed by the redemptive name you see God making for Himself. I hope you will see that He is the same God who wants to bring the power of His name (His very person) into the denomination of your life as well.

Be prepared! Like He did with Paul, Christ will likely turn the life you know right now upside-down, but don’t lose heart; it will not take too long before He lets you recognize that He is actually setting you right-side-up for the first time in your life. Then, you will have every reason to thank Him!


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