Not long after I joined my first ship I picked up the nickname of ‘Road Runner.’ It seems that my teenage haste in moving around the ship had similarities with the cartoon bird that was chased by Wile E. Coyote in Looney Tunes. Somebody even found me a cloth Road Runner badge in a shop ashore and I stitched this onto the pocket of one of my boilersuits.
When I joined my second ship one of the junior engineers had been given the nickname ‘Manchester Tart,’ a nickname he really did not like. The nickname had nothing to do with the cake of the same name, but the engineer did hail from Manchester, and he did very little to endear himself to other folk on the ship. He approached me one day and asked if he could have my Road Runner badge, as apparently this had been his nickname in the shipyard where he served his apprenticeship. I gladly relinquished the badge and the nickname. To the best of my knowledge I have never had a nickname since, although I may have been called many things behind my back.
Jesus indulged in the occasional nickname. He called James and John the Sons of Thunder, and he told Peter that he was the ‘Rock’ on which he would build His church. Thomas, who is often unfairly referred to as ‘Doubting Thomas,’ was nicknamed ‘The Twin.’ God also had a habit of changing the names of folk in the Old Testament, usually to establish a new identity; Abram became Abraham, and Jacob became Israel, for example.
Do you ever wonder if God has a nickname for you and what it might be? I could imagine that He might stick with my first ship nickname of Road Runner because I don’t tend to move slowly. While God sees all that we do, say and think, and could pick hundreds of appropriate nicknames for each of us I believe that He only has one, and it is the same one for everyone; ‘Beloved’. If you don’t believe me then read The Song of Songs through the lens of God’s love for His children. If that is too much to read, then John 3:16 says all you ever need to know about God and love. Just as Jesus is God’s beloved Son, so we are His beloved children. I am more than happy to know that God calls me Beloved.
“Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. To everyone who is victorious I will give some of the manna that has been hidden away in heaven. And I will give to each one a white stone, and on the stone will be engraved a new name that no one understands except the one who receives it.” (Revelation 2:17 NLT)