20 April 2010

If God had a name

This post is part of Bridget Chumbley's one word at a time blog carnival. The word today is Self-Control. Please go check out the other posts.

The Eskimos had 52 names for snow because it was important to them; there ought to be as many for love. - Margeret Atwood

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. - Psalm 9:10

Last week I was in the middle of Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, standing on a grassy hill with my oldest son Lucas. We were watching a cohort of about fifteen drummers at the foot of the hill pound away on their drums. They were talented, there is no doubt about that. The one lonely saxophone that joined them played drawn-out minor cords that added urgency to the music.

In the middle of the pack of drummers, a young woman danced unrestrained, almost unaware of onlookers, something between a 1960s hippy dance and a Turkish belly dance. You could believe that she was Herodias' daughter herself. Everyone on the hill, all the drummers, too, were mesmerized by the woman. No one could take their eyes off of her.

How did she get there and what is her name?

Counselors know everyone has battle scars. What stories do her scars tell?

What does she want?


The need for love is the great engine that drives the human experience. Humans, all of us, start out wanting nothing more than to be loved. Many of us are hurt along the way and abandon the pursuit of love for a time; we think it protects us from being hurt again. But, love, in one way or another, informs everything we do.

The young woman in Golden Gate Park just wants to be loved, like you, like me.

Test everything. Hold on to the good. – 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Over time I have experimented with a lot of different behaviors to gain love. The only love that has lasted is the love that emanates from the creator of love.

God is love. If it does not look and feel like love, if it does not withstand hardship, if it does not stand the test of time, it is not from God.

I will likely never know the dancing woman's name ... but, God's name I know. His name is mercy, and love, and forgiveness, and peace. He has other names I am still learning. Eventually all of His names will be seared onto my heart.

My prayer is that you find love that lasts. And, I pray that the woman dancing in Golden Gate Park finds love that lasts, too. I thank God for you, for her, I thank God for teaching us what love is … in Jesus name I pray.


  1. I'm suddenly ADD, thinking of the many names for God, the poignant quote you used, and a young woman somewhere dancing as Salomé but needing to listen to John the Baptist.

    So I'll simply join your prayer of thanks to God for teaching me love ... in Jesus name.

  2. We all seek the love of God in our lives. We do not however manufacture love in any way. We don't "make love". We are just conduits for God's love to one another. We sometimes block that love flowing through us for a variety of reasons. The scars that Russ wrote about are the stumbling blocks. Thank you Jesus for the moments when I allow your love and life to live in me and to have those aroumd me feel your love.

  3. Thanks for this post, Russell. I'm not religious by any means, but your insights on love are so true. Walk good, friend.

  4. To live in the reality of His names would be a wonderful thing.

  5. Beautiful post. Thanks Russell.

  6. What a wonderful post. I loved the quote you used with the challenge you gave. Sadly, I can't even come up with 10 names for love.

  7. "Eventually all of His names will be seared onto my heart."

    Great point!

  8. Anne - Prayers of thanks are always applicable.

    Jerry - I couldn't agree with you more.

    Kari - Thank you so much for stopping by. You are a wonderful writer with a huge heart.

    S. Etole - Someday we will, but getting there is kind of painful.

    Jason - Thanks man.

    Duane - Thanks. That should be a contest, too. How many names for love can a person come up with ... hmmmm.

    Kevin - You switched the pic out on your post. Tricky ... :-)

  9. Wow Russell, I have to admit this post really made me think. Which means I won't sleep tonight now. I'm blaming you...

  10. Very thought provoking... thanks. :)

  11. This was a beautiful post. Thank you!

    And very thought provoking. She dances perhaps because in the dance, thought cannot take root and love has room to grow.

  12. Billy - Sorry Bro. Stop thinking ... :-)

    Deb - Thank you, back.

    M.L. - "Some dance to remember. Some dance to forget." - The Eagles. Thanks.

  13. Some ideas and thoughts are just too big for words. We get close, but need to remember that the words aren't the idea.

    A chuckle--when I read your title on Bridget's page, I thought you were re-naming God. "If God Had A Name: Russell"

  14. Great and beautiful thoughts on God and love. Lots to think about here, Russell. Thank you.

  15. Rich - Thanks Bro. There is only one God and His name is certainly not Russell ... :-)

    Bridget - You are such a good hostess. THANK YOU!!!

  16. Exquisite and truthful. Thanks, Russell.

  17. Katdish - Thanks, back at you ... :-)

  18. Good example. So hard when we need to feel the Lord's acceptance and everyday involvement in our lives. We tend [at least some of us] to jump up and down and holler "Daddy, daddy, see me? See me? Love me?" The walking on His path gradually changes that tendency/temptation to strive for His underlying attention and simply know it's part of our life.