26th November 2012

“Tell Me About God, Grampy”

“… even as I am fully known”
1 Corinthians 13:12 (NIV)

She was 9 years old when my granddaughter said, “Tell me about God, Grampy.”
In reply I asked her, “What’s your nickname?”
“Hamster-roodlesticks,” she replied.
“God knows that too,” I said.

In other words, God’s so fully aware of who she is, he even knows her nickname. Why? Because he loves her. But that’s how she got stuck with the nickname “Hamster-roodlesticks” in the first place. Because she’s loved. A nickname is a term of affection, and in affection language her real name, “Hannah”, became Hamster, and when a hamster is loved it – well, it “roodlesticks.” Whatever that means. But who cares what it means? It’s a crazy name but it tells her she’s loved, and that’s what matters.

It’s funny how we give our children such formal names at birth and then immediately dump those names for some ridiculous-sounding nickname that sticks with them all through their childhood and even into teenage and beyond.  Our youngest son, for instance, is “Keeks”. He’s 22 years old. His real name is a grandiose Celtic “Keehan”, with all sorts of fanciful, ancestral significance that I was extremely proud of when we named him, but we haven’t called him Keehan for his entire life. He was Keeks as a baby and 22 years later he’s still Keeks.

But God also gave people nicknames that stuck with them for life. Jacob, for instance, became “Israel”, and never Jacob again. And now “Israel” is with us for keeps as living proof of God’s love, just as nicknames for our kids are.

So in telling my granddaughter about God, nicknames seemed like a nice place to begin because she loves her nickname. It constantly tells her she’s loved. And when I told her I was thinking of using Hamster-roodlesticks for a password – because then I would never forget it – she was delighted. But we never forget nicknames, do we? I still remember mine from school, and I’ve used it twice for passwords already because I love it. It reminds me of the friends who created that nickname for me in the first place, as their way of expressing their friendship.

But that’s what nicknames are for. God called Peter “the rock”. Solid as a rock you are Peter, a real term of affection, but loaded with encouragement as well for the man who would lead the church into the fray after Jesus ascended. It was a nickname with love and meaning.

So is the name God has for us. He calls us “saints”, 1 Corinthians 1:2 (KJV), says “the holy ones”. What a crazy name for the likes of us, right? But it’s God’s choice of name for us as living proof of his eternal love and friendship with us – and it’s ours for keeps, too.

Dear Father, who knows what name you have waiting for us when you give us a new name? Will it be a name that helps us realize for eternity just how “fully known” we are?

Study by Jonathan Buck 

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