The Name Game

Photo: Renae Bowman

Photo: Renae Bowman

Have you seen these games on the Internet that award you a nickname? They take your personality then spit out a random title. In the end, you’re either some crazy Viking warrior or an obscure heir to royalty. Funny how we never end up with a title like “17th Century Rodent Killer.” Now that’s one to be proud of—said no one ever!

But the good nicknames would be cool—right? Something like Prowess of Power or Son of Greatness would be worthwhile. Now those are something. Those have meat to them! Arggghh. I’ll take that.

So I was enamored when I found a biblical connection to nicknames. Do you know Jesus played that name game long ago? Long before some Gamer in a basement dreamed up an algorithm to send around the world, Jesus had it. Don’t believe me, check out Mark 3:17. Jesus is meeting and choosing His twelve disciples when He comes across two men—James and John (brothers by the way). When they exchange greetings, Jesus throws something in the mix. He nicknames them on the spot. Something just between the three of them.

Out of nowhere, Jesus throws it down. He calls these two brothers, “Sons of Thunder.” Boom! Jesus went there. None of the others got a nickname. Sure, Peter was formally Simon, but his was not a nickname. James and John? Well, they had a little inner perspective given by an outward King.

I have read that verse countless times before and never picked up a connection. It was something I just glanced over and moved on without seeing something deeper. This time, I saw hidden story.

James and John were curious—they followed. But somewhere in the beginning, somewhere before their hearts understood the message, they were mere men. They were everyday Joes, living their lives and dealing with the ups and downs of the daily grind. In doing so, they had feelings and emotions. Then one day, One person saw into their hearts. One saw that their voices could get loud when they were upset. One saw that in their heart, anger and love lived side by side. One saw that passion clouded their judgment at times, so much so that Thunder was the closest thing to describing them.

In spite of it all, and out of everyone else possible…
He still picked…them.
He still needed…them.
He still used…them.

It’s a love story.

Jesus knew them better than they knew themselves. Their temperaments were so prominent that the first minute they met, it was on the table. It was something. It had to have been. It was important for the world to know about it. But it was really important they knew that He knew from the get go. But you see, it didn’t matter. Love pushed aside what reality held on to.

And it goes for us, too. Whether it was the first time you cried out to our Lord, or you’re hiding from Him now, or you’ve been on a long winding road with Him—Jesus knows. He knows every bit of every corner of what makes us, us.

Yet, he still picks…you. He still needs…you. He still uses…you.

It’s a love story. Can you see?

In spite of our temperaments and our personalities and mashed-up upside-down everyday lives and ways, He wants us. From the get go and from the getting on, we are His and He is ours.

Listen, he used Twelve to start if off—but he needs parties of one to continue it on. Our God is the God who says it’s not about perfection in the beginning, or the end; it’s about perseverance through the in-between. Put away the notion you have to be a certain way to follow Christ. Put away the notion that He can only use levelheaded, sane, calm people. (They are wayyyy hard to find!) Put away all those ill-conceived thoughts and realize He knows you and in spite of it all, YOU are what He wants.

So if we play the game and plug in the info, what are our nicknames?


If I were doing the picking, I’d go with Renae—She Woman—Mighty Superhero!

If He does the picking…most likely Daughter of Thunder Earthquakes and Turbulent Storms—self created of course—because if it roars and is crazy and all mashed up and mixed in and upside down and topsy-turvy—that would describe just about everything of my inner-self and outward ways!

And yet, He still chooses me.

And He’ll still choose you.

Do you see how it doesn’t matter to Him what makes you, you?

That’s important.

It means something.

It’s a love story.

Between you and a Saviour…

No power in the sky above or in the earth below–indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39 NLT

4 Replies

  1. Chrissy Pollard

    I like for my nickname “Strong and dazed in the middle of a tornado”. Ha! That I wouldn’t only be whipped around, but CALM in the eye of the hurricane! 😀

    1. Great Nickname Chrissy! I’m with you on that.

  2. Lori perez

    Why do you have to stop writing? When I read your blog I just want it to go on and on. You know I think all of us would have different names on each day. I think it would depend on what we are going through for that day. Do you think God changes our name on each day? Sometimes I think that. Especially when maybe I am shutting Him out more than I really want to. I know I would give myself a different name. Once again another wonderful inspirational reading to help me through the day. God bless both of you.

    1. Thank you Lori! Yes, I do believe we change nicknames all the time. At least I hope so. I’m holding out that Jesus has a great one for me at “the end.” Until then, I try to rest in Him through all the crazy storms. Thank you for supporting us and giving us feedback–we love it!

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