Benjamin made landfall on October 10, 2012, in New Braunfels, Texas. No, I’m not talking about a hurricane; I’m talking about my new grandson. (Whether or not he becomes a hurricane remains to be seen.) Benjamin Robert Parrish was born to Robert and Kristen Parrish and sisters, Hallie and Macey Jo. He weighed in at 8’13” and was 21.5 inches long—a big ‘un.
The name Benjamin means “son of my right hand.” If you recall your Old Testament history, you’ll remember that Benjamin was Jacob’s twelfth and last son. He was the second of only two sons (Joseph being the other) born to Jacob’s favorite wife, Rachel. Sadly, Rachel died after childbirth. Just before she breathed her last Rachel named the boy Benoni, which means “son of my sorrow.” Jacob didn’t want the boy growing up with a name like that. Think about about it: how many times in one’s life does someone call you by name? And every time that happened, the boy would have been reminded that his birth led to his mother’s death. And every time Jacob called the boy by name, he would have been reminded of Rachel’s death yet again. So Jacob did a wise thing. He changed the boy’s name from Benoni (son of my sorrow) to Benjamin (son of my right hand). And I guess if you called him Ben for short both mom and dad would have had their way. Benjamin—son of my right hand.
Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I know there are a number of southpaws in our world. My little brother is one of them. Most estimate that 10% of the population is left-handed. So nothing against left-handers here, but most of us are right-handers. So think about just how important our right hand is to us. Most of us write, eat, and throw with our right hand. If you use a weapon, you generally hold it in your right hand. And if you swear allegiance or take an oath you put your right hand in the air or over your heart. Also, the right hand side is usually our stronger side and usually the side with which we have the best balance and flexibility. And in the Bible, the right hand symbolizes wisdom, victory, power, strength, and the place of honor. Benjamin—son of my right hand.
There are a few famous people past and present who carry the name Benjamin or Ben:
· Benjamin bar Jacob: passive, baby of the family, much loved, father of the tribe from which Israel’s first king was chosen, son of Jacob’s right hand.
· Benjamin Franklin: scholar, writer, inventor, patriot, scientist, journalist, kite-flyer.
· Benjamin Henry Harrison: the 23rd President of the United States.
· Ben Bradlee: journalist, longtime editor of the Washington Post who gave Woodward and Bernstein a free hand in their Watergate reporting.
· Benji: the cute little dog who appeared first on Petticoat Junction and then went on to star in a few movies in his own name.
· Ben Stein: economist, presidential speech-writer, author, actor, funny guy
· Ben Affleck—pop actor; Ben Kingsley—classic actor; Ben Stiller—comic actor
· Ben Hogan and Ben Crenshaw—golfers; Ben Rothlisberger: football player and Super Bowl champion.
· Ben Vereen: dancer extraordinaire.
I don’t know what our Benjamin will become in the years ahead. A golfer who can help America finally win the Ryder Cup again? A writer who stirs people with poetry and prose? A politician who’ll serve his nation the best he can? A man who invents some kind of widget that changes the world? A wise old sage and a renaissance man? An Oscar-caliber actor capable of performing, romantic comedies, gripping drama, and Shakespeare? Or maybe he’ll be the big winner on Dancing with the Stars? I don’t know what our Benjamin will become.
But I know what he is now: a loved and welcome addition to our family; a child knit together in his mother’s womb by the loving hands of God; a boy planted in a home where Christ is loved and adored and the Bible is treasured, read, memorized, and believed; an infant in the nursery of a church he visited in the womb and that has loved him before he was even born; a youngster who will love Jesus from the moment he hears His name and who will one day trust Jesus for salvation from his sins and for real life now and forever; a child who will learn to thank God when times are good and trust God when times are hard. Already Benjamin’s life is in God’s good hands. Already God is shaping and forming Benjamin for the plans God has for his life. God, who knows the end from the beginning, sees exactly what Benjamin will become in the years ahead.
Though we may have our dreams, all we can really see of Benjamin is what we see today. But we love what we see. And we’re grateful God has given us a ringside seat to watch his life unfold.
So welcome to the world and welcome to the family, Benjamin: child of God, son of your father’s right hand, grandchild of a Grammy and a Papa who couldn’t be more grateful, more happy, and more proud.