Our God By Any Other Name
by Lois Donahue
EXCERPT: “He’s always known there will be times in our lives — no matter at what age or for what reasons, when we will not only feel hopelessly over-burdened by life but, worse yet, feel spiritually adrift. “
Delightful humor so often comes when children give answers to questions posed in their religion class. For example, a teacher asked her first graders what they knew about God. There were, of course, the expected answers. “I know God made everything.” “I know God loves me.” “I know God is in heaven.” Then one of the little boys declared, ” I know God’s first name.” “Really,” responded the teacher, “and what is God’s first name, Tony?” “It’s Andy” the little boy replied confidently. “And how do you know that?” pursued the teacher. “‘Cause,” said Tony, “When I heard some people singing about God, they said ‘And-e walks with me, And-e talks with me.'”
See what I mean about delightful humor. However, if we stop to think for a minute, there sure wasn’t any humor in the whole incident as far as Tony was concerned. No question about that. He knew God and he knew lots if things about God. He’d heard people sing about Him, talk about Him. He’d heard stories about God and even seen pictures. Yes sir, Tony knew that God was real – a real “someone” and, since every other “someone” he knew had a first name, there was certainly nothing funny about God Himself having a first name.
Yes, sir, Tony was dead serious which might as well incline us to view, with a mixture of envy and longing, his wonderfully, simple, uncluttered, unquestioning concept of God. Hopefully it might also remind us that when we were somewhere near Tony’s age we most likely had the same kind of enviable relationship with our very own ‘And-e’ God. (O.K. so maybe no first name.) Nevertheless, each of us also knew that ‘our’ God was real and personal and truly present.
A risk we take in thinking back, about our God that ‘was’, is we may overlook the fact that He hasn’t gone anywhere. He is still here, hidden amid the complex clutter we’ve accumulated over time. You see, He’s always known there will be times in our lives — no matter at what age or for what reasons, when we will not only feel hopelessly over-burdened by life but, worse yet, feel spiritually adrift. That is when we will desperately need to connect again with our won very special ‘someone’ God. That is when we will need to remember, need once again to know, that He is the one who can and will give us comfort, and reassurance, safety, love, and strength. that’s why he stays — and waits — and loves.
Oh, by the way, I like to believe that when God heard Tony giving Him a name — “Abba” smiled.
Lent will become a time of peace and joy as you read more articles Lois will be posting on a regular basis. So keep visiting because you are most loved and warmly welcomed at this site.