«But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, 0 Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. » (Isaiah 43:1).
When we were little, my twin sister could not pronounce my name correctly. Instead of calling me Vanesa, she would call me Peta. Even now, many years later, my family still calls me Peta. Hearing that nickname brings back so many memories . . . The fragrance of broom shrubs in the yard, Buenos Aires’s scorching summers, and the voice of the street vendor: «Watermelons! Fresh watermelons!» A nickname is the summary of a shared history, a wink of mutual understanding.
The Bible has many examples of people to whom God gave a new name to commemorate an important change. Abram became Abraham and Sarai became Sarah. Jacob became Israel and Simon became Peter. But the Bible also has examples of people who gave God a nickname. Abraham called Him «the Lord will provide» (Yahweh-jireh), when God provided a ram to be sacrificed instead of Isaac. David said: «The Lord is my shepherd» (Yahweh-rohi), comparing God’s love and care to that of a shepherd. Hagar called Him:»The God who sees» (El-roi), the God who even notices a slave’s affliction.
We are so familiar with those names that we forget that before becoming part of the biblical canon they were merely nicknames; summaries of a unique experience between the Creator and a creature. If you had to give God a nickname to commemorate something, what would you call Him? I call Him «the unbeatable Recycler,» because God can take the worst part of my life, my past or my bad decisions to create something beautiful. Where it smells like manure, God fertilizes. Where I am weak, God sows for His glory. I also call Him «the Sustainer of my destiny,» the One who reminds me that the battle belongs to Him, not to me. He who creates rivers in dry places and brings my valleys of dry bones to life. I call Him «the loving One,» because He makes my friends call me on the phone when I’m feeling sad.
God doesn’t want a formal and distant relationship with you, but rather such a close connection that you may give each other nicknames.
Dear Lord, thank You for being the unbeatable Recycler; for being the One who redeems my mistakes and my past, the One who restores the years that were eaten away by fear and loneliness. Thank You for being the One who sustains my destiny, who fights my battles and defends my honor. Thank You for being loving; for using every detail to remind me how much You love me.