17TH APRIL, 2010
B-BLOCK READING ROOM, KORLE-BU.
Godswill. I wondered why Godswill and not Godwill or even one of my brothers' name; Godfred, Godwin or Godson. Yes! Godson, I loved that one. It denoted the son of God.
Sitting in front of a panel of about 8 or so members, being interviewed for medical school. For the first time, it hit me straight! "So your name is Godswill, tell us, is it God's will that you be admitted to the medical school?" Those were the exact words from the head of the panel, the then vice dean of University of Ghana Medical School and currently the dean.
My answered was an unwavering and emphatic yes! Saying that with confidence and gleaming with joy and happiness before the august panel.
That was my first question and the only question that got me thinking deeply about my name after the interview and even up till now.
I had never thought about what my name really meant. I often got irritated when people asked of my ethnicity and I told them I was Akan. They would go on to say, "But your name sounds Ewe." I had grown tired and weary of having to narrate my family tradition of all male children having a 'God' in their names, like Godfred or Godwin or Godson. They would then go on to comment, "I have heard of Godwill before but Godswill, well." Those were some of the usual comments. I just was getting tired of all these and hence even cutting out that part of my name anytime I had to mention my name.
That day was very much different! Godswill, what did it mean to me? Why did my Daddy name me Godswill? I picked my cell phone and called Daddy and told him about the ordeal in the Conference room of the medical school. We laughed about it and chatted for a while, and then I put forth the question to him. His answer was, “Godswill means God’s will.” As simple as that!
On my own, I contemplated on it in my sober moments.
Little did I know it was going to come to me in such a lucid way as it did recently. Three years after my encounter with the panel that made a decision to help establish God’s will by passing me through that interview.
It was during a fellowship meeting of CMF. I had been away for so long, gosh!! And it felt good to be back. Through the time of praises and worship I felt like my American friend, Melissa when she went to the beads market! I couldn’t concentrate and kept on drifting between why and when and how I had drifted so far from such a fellowship. I thought about going away and never being helped by my family members, that made me feel something like anger or something else. Then I felt I had gotten it all wrong by myself and that I should just accept the responsibility, that made me feel guilty. Then I felt like, maybe it’s because I was involved in other activities since I was now the Health Officer of UGMSA and the Deputy National Health Officer of FGMSA. After sometime, I felt this one too amounted to excusing myself and running away from accepting the truth.
So throughout the service, I could not really follow through with everything. Then came my moment of deliverance and revelation if I should put it. The CMF president at that time mounted the stage in what seemed like his turn to lead us in prayer. First, he read some scriptures from the Bible and urged us to let go off everything and just focus on Jesus. I indulged myself in this exercise. I made a conscious effort to free my mind of the issues on my mind as at that time. It wasn’t an easy task but I tried very hard at this exercise. I succeeded and freed my mind.
It was during this hushed moment of my life that I felt the Lord speaking to me. This was something so unique and amazing. So humbling and awe-inspiring moment. I felt like a voice (The voice of The Lord) telling me this exact statement; “I have called you to fulfill my will.” It was a very enlightening moment of my life. I broke down at that point and cried for a period of time that I can’t remember. After the meeting, I called the love of my life and shared this experience with her.
Reflecting on this incident and all the antecedent events, I think of the importance and the power of names. I think of the story of Jabez (1 Chr 4:9) and of that Nabal (1 Sam 25:25) or even of the apostle Peter (Cephas) – a rock on which Christ built his church. Names can and does have that much power. Ours is to live to the meaning of our good names! Trusting the Master to always provide the ways and means of doing such. If we seem to be in the same predicament as our good example Jabez in the Bible, thank God, Jabez did show us an excellent way! Such an honourable servant of the Master. Jesus was and Is and Will be forever called THE CHRIST (Christos, meaning the Messiah or Anointed one!) Did he live out His name? Yes!!! He was God’s anointed and he went about doing good!
Act 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Each of us has a story behind our names but most importantly, we have been called individually to fulfill specific missions in life. That is the second thought I have upon the reflection on whatever has been narrated so far. It is not about our dreams anymore but God’s dream and will for us. When we accepted the new life, that was the bargain we were making. We accepted that our way is of no consequence or better still was doomed for destruction and of devastating consequence. We acknowledge we needed someone to provide a better alternative to ours so we could see the dark and be freed from oppression by the ruler of this world.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
Great and marvelous and wise is this gift:
The just for the unjust.
The Master for the slave
The sinless for the sinner,
The creator for the creature,
Afflicted, rejected, chastised, bruised,
Mocked by the ones he came to save, etc.
Yet, He did not even consider equality with God something to be grasped with; He agreed to take the place of the vilest of men so we could have a share in His inheritance.
Upon all these, man’s parts of the bargain are to Confess with the mouth and believe in his heart that Christ is the savior who died for man’s sins.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Surely, it’s the best you can get anywhere! A deal that will see us escaping all that we deserved.
Ours is to avail ourselves to be conformed to The Masters will. Let’s be guided by these words from Ps. Max Lucado:
CHRIST IN ME
To have my voice
But Him speaking.
But Christ leading.
But His love beating
In me, through me, with me.
To tap His strength
When mine expires
Or feel the force
Of Heavens fires
Raging, purging wrong desires
Could Christ become my entire?
Yes! That is Christ in me!
We must live in Christ and allow Him to live in us also. We must seek to find and understand what God’s will is for our lives and be ready to accept and live it out.
Back to my story, I also realized that, sometimes we seem to allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by circumstances and then look out for excuses to justify ourselves. We can never justify ourselves as I have already pointed out. We were like sheep gone astray… We must allow the spirit of God to work on us to transform us more and more everyday into Christ’s perfect image. When we are convicted, it is a sure sign of God’s love for us and a sign of The Holy Spirit at work in us – The Parakletos.
At times too, the church fails to recognize or should I say refuses to respond to members in genuine need. Some in our churches may not be in need of the doctrine of giving primarily. The church must identify those in need whether financially, emotionally, socially or those who are falling in the faith especially. It is our duty to correct with love and turn our brothers and sisters away from falling back or backsliding.
I sought to discuss how I came to realize an important revelation in my life about my name but I believe it was God’s will that I continued up till this point. He gives strength to the humble and wisdom even to the simple if he will listen.
God bless you for reading.
John Godswill Gyasi Banin
National Health Officer, FGMSA.