by Mary Hamilton
The Bible tells us the name of our God is a strong tower, a refuge in time of trouble. We sing of the beauty and power of the name of Jesus, our savior. But what does that really mean?
I’ve always struggled to understand how a simple name can possess power or be a source of strength, or even a refuge. Maybe that worked in Bible times when names embodied a person’s personality and character. Maybe it was true for Old Testament Jews whose reverence for God prompted the use of other names to keep from speaking that holiest of names. Even when scribes copying scriptures came to the name of God, they laid aside their quill or writing utensil and took up a new one only to discard it as soon as they’d finished writing the Name.
Is it because we’re so accustomed to using God’s name in everyday speech that it’s difficult to imagine it having such power and authority? Do we hear it so often it doesn’t carry the weight it did with Biblical believers?
Recently, I pondered all this while singing a song in Sunday worship about the beautiful name of Jesus. My mind wandered back several years to the summer my son left for Marine boot camp. I’d seen and spoken to my first-born nearly every day for the last 18+ years, but suddenly he was gone and there’d be no communication between us for weeks. One three-minute phone call to let us know he’d made it through the first few days and then silence during what was likely the most momentous time of his life to date.
Excruciating, to say the least. Making it worse was the intellectual idea we had of the physical, mental and emotional stress he was undertaking. We’d been told the first communication we could expect would be a letter advising us of his new mailing address. Each day, we eagerly checked the mail for one week, then two weeks. Somewhere around the third or fourth week after he left, the letter arrived—a form letter, copied so many times the print was pale and slightly blurry, not easily read. But down at the bottom, my son had scrawled his signature. It was the only evidence we had that he was still on this earth, that he hadn’t simply disappeared.
I cherished that letter with his signature for another week or two until his first handwritten missive arrived. During that waiting time, I remember telling a friend, “I’ve never been so happy just to see his name!”
And suddenly there in that worship service, I understood the power and preciousness of a name, of The Name.
May you find strength, power, comfort and encouragement in that Name that is above all names.
Bio: Marine Mom and award-winning author Mary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in Wisconsin, much like the setting for her Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series (where kids bring their baggage to camp and let God carry it). Her experiences during twenty years of living at the camp, as well as people she knew there, inspired many of the events and situations in her novels. She’s a member of AFCW and CAN, and when not writing, she enjoys knitting, reading, photography and spending time with her family. Mary and her husband live in Texas.
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