The nicknames of my childhood have faded with the passing of child friendships. The cruelty still finds a tender spot when I recall their use. It is as if I am living the experiences yet again for the first time. The shock, pain, and fresh tears overwhelming my ability to stand tall “take it like a man”. Regardless of what I might have said at the time, it hurt! In the years since I have worn other nicknames with pride and in anger. Many of the names reflected a weakness, a few mirrored my strengths. My emotions always ran the full range because I could never believe the good was as good as they said or that my weaknesses were as blatant as the names implied.
It turns out that God has been given certain nicknames by the people who live close to the seat of power. One might assume that any nickname would be considered improper or irreverent but that doesn’t seem to be the case. In fact nobody seems particularly worried about it! John documents the new song.
“They sang a new song: ‘Worthy! Take the scroll, open its seals. Slain! Paying in blood, you bought men and women, bought them back from all over the earth, bought them back for God. Then you made them a Kingdom, Priests for our God, priest-kings to rule over the earth.”” (Revelation 5.6-10)
It is hard to imagine that anyone could that familiar with God! Yet this is exactly what is contained in God’s invitation to you and me. “Come, you are my friend.” “Child, you are my son or daughter.” Examples are recorded where God’s men and women yell, scream, and berate God and there is no automatic reprisal. People call God all sorts of names – good, bad, and indifferent – and yet God continues to express his love and passion for us.
Far too often I don’t have a nickname for God because I am out of any type of relationship. God’s name for us can be summarized as “my beloved”. What is ours for God?