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It's all in a name

3 August 2021

It's all in a name

Reassurance in a seemingly chaotic world

Words Janine Donaldson

I recently listened to an interview with a high school teacher who stated that at the very beginning of the school year – in fact, by the end of the first week of the school year – he would commit to being able to remember and correctly pronounce, the name of every student in his class.

What made this even more challenging for him was that most of his students were from different ethnic backgrounds, and more than half the class were refugees who had fled their place of birth and all that had been familiar to them. They felt displaced and devalued and had lost their sense of identity. Many of their names were very difficult to pronounce, but this teacher was determined to speak their names – correctly.

He went on to explain why he felt it was so important to him: “I want my students to realise that there are people who see them and respect them for their culture, for their abilities, for their strengths and for their contribution to the school community. But, most importantly, I want my students to know that I respect and value them for the whole person they are, including their beautiful names that are sometimes difficult to pronounce. They deserve nothing less.”


I have recently been looking at some of the names attributed to God. It is amazing to realise that there are over 100 names given to God throughout Scripture that reflect the character of who he is. The more people came to know and understand the very nature of God, the more names they gave him. While there are far too many for me to remember or even share with you, these names reveal so much about his character. They tell us this about him – he is fully trustworthy, always powerful, forever loving and constantly present with us.


In a world that often feels chaotic and fearfilled, his name is the one to hold close.

If you need some extra reassurance today, find hope in his powerful name. He is the God of miracles, and nothing is impossible for him.

The Bible tells us that, “The name of the Lord is like a strong tower, a place of protection, where people can run to him and be safe” (Proverbs chapter 18, verse 10).

How we view God determines our view of everything else in our lives. If we have an incorrect view of God, we will have an incorrect view of who we are.

Don’t believe the lie that God is distant, too busy, that he doesn’t care about you, or that he is just waiting for you to mess up so he can tell you all you’ve done wrong. That’s not who his name says he is.

We hold on firmly to the promise that his love is everlasting, his mercies are new every morning, and his faithfulness is great. There is power in his name.

The Bible says: “You can pass through his open gates with the password of praise. Come right into his presence with thanksgiving. Come bring your thank offering to him and affectionately bless his beautiful name! For Yahweh is always good and ready to receive you.

He’s so loving that it will amaze you – so kind that it will astound you!

And he is famous for his faithfulness toward all.

Everyone knows our God can be trusted, for he keeps his promises to every generation!” Psalm 100, verses 4-5, The Passion Translation

Commissioner Janine Donaldson is co-leader of The Salvation Army, Australia.



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