What’s In A Name?

 

When you’re stuck with a name like Dextral Delector Alexander II you think about names a lot.

 

Like, why my dad chose to name me after himself?

Was it ego?

Was it pride?

Was it a joke?

 

I didn’t fully understand his choice until a few years ago.

I had succeeded in my career but I had failed my character.

I was in a fog.

I had no-one to blame but myself.

I was 1500 miles away from my closest friend.

I was separated from my family.

I was unsure of my future.

 

I was alone.

 

My father and I were bound together, at times, only by name.

I was reminded of this every time I applied for credit.

On numerous occasions, the IRS reminded me as well.

Our names created constant coincidental collisions –

times we had to call each other with some explanation

to clear up the confusion.

There was constant confusion between us.

 

I called my father and prepared myself for another explanation.  

 

So much of my relationship with God centers around explanation.

Why did that happen?

What does this mean?

Am I doing this right?

Is this how it’s always going to be?

Can you take this away?

Sorry about that.

 

I ask or explain. He affirms and embraces.

 

My dad answered the phone the same way every time.

“Pastor D.D. Alexander…”

As I began to explain, the words choked themselves in my throat

unable to make sense of themselves.

I felt ashamed of myself and what I had done

to our name.

The pastor became the father.

 

Stop. Just come home.

 

He’d tell me, “Anywhere you go, I’m with you.

Anytime you wonder who you are,

remember, you’re my son.

That will never change.

No matter what.

You’ll always be Dextral Delector Alexander

and Dextral Delector Alexander’s son.”

 

My father’s promises to me are life giving.

 

When I think about my Dad,

I don’t think about the times we missed each other.

I think about the moments we connected.

Each of those moments were based on his promise.

That I was always his son. No matter what.

His position – as pastor –

never distracted from his promises – as father.

 

My father’s promises are tied to his name.

 

He’d say to me

(sorry this is a bit crass, but he was a pastor and it makes the point)

“All I have in life are my nuts and my name.”

If he didn’t keep his promises,

he felt his name,

his position and

he as a person was worthless.

 

I praise your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness;

for your promises are backed

by all the honor of your name. – Psalm 138

 

The name of God is backed by his promises.

His name reminds us that he’s never failed

to come through on a promise

– never once –

because by doing so, he would dishonor his own name.

Which is why his name

is above all names.

 

Nothing can stand against.

 

When he’s called El HaNe’eman (Deuteronomy 7:9)

he’s The Faithful God –

never failing, never slowing, never turning.

When he’s called Immanu El (Isaiah 7:14)

we’re reminded that God Is With Us,

by his choice, not ours.

We’re never alone, we’re never abandoned, never left to ourselves.

 

You didn’t want Heaven without us…

 

When He’s called “YHVH”

(pronounced by most as Jehovah, but no pronunciation is truly accurate)

we’re reminded that He is.

Always is.

Never was not.

Never will not be.

And as such, He is Lord (Adonai) of All, in a way only he can be.

 

You were the Word at the beginning, One with God the Lord Most High.

 

YHVH Elohim – LORD God: (Genesis 2:4)

YHVH M’kadesh – The LORD Who Makes Holy: (Ezekiel 37:28)

YHVH Yireh – The LORD Who Sees/Provides: (Genesis 22:14)

YHVH Nissi – The LORD My Banner: (Exodus 17:15)

YHVH Shalom – The LORD Of Peace: (Judges 6:24)

YHVH Tzidkaynu – The LORD Our Righteousness: (Jeremiah 33:16)

YHVH O’saynu – The LORD Our Maker: (Psalm 95:6)

 

Your hidden glory in creation, now revealed in you our Christ.

 

The most important thing my father ever did for me

was give me his name.

In doing so, he connected me not only to himself

by keeping his promises until the day he died,

but also to YHVH

whose promises are everlasting

and whose name is to be praised.

 

Reflection Questions:

  1. Looking at this season of your life, who do you need God to be for you right now? What names of God above resonated with you?
  2. In what way is God reaching out to you?
  3. Take some time to think of a name for God, one that is reflective of what you need now, that is consistent with his character, and supported by Scripture?
  4. Take some time to pray to the God who meets you where you are and draws you into friendship with himself. Call him by the name you’ve given to him and see how he responds to you.

 

One thought on “What’s In A Name?

  1. Thank you Dex for the reminder! I never liked my name growing up. Kristen. So, I go by Kris. I was called Christine, Kristy, Krista, Christian, you name it! No one ever got it right! Plus my last name was Kopp! Pronounce Cop. Oh the jokes! But I’m reminded of God’s many names, and I am going to copy these down and tape them to my wall, so I don’t forget! Now I share my name with a rapper! Haha! Love your story!

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