A few years ago I spent a short time "on the road" with my truck driver husband. I had never realized how inhospitable the people and businesses of America are to the ones who deliver their bread and butter, their clothes and their shoes, and their toys. In many towns, every parking lot had a sign "NO TRUCK PARKING ALLOWED. VIOLATORS WILL BE TOWED". It was okay to pull up to the back dock...to deliver their food, and all that they needed to survive...but after that, they wanted us to melt soundlessly into the night. Don't use our parking lots, don't hog our roads, and don't stop at our restaurants to eat.
Night after night, traveling mile after mile, looking for a place to eat or sleep, I suddenly realized that I was experiencing something Jesus probably experienced on a regular basis, and felt a kinship to Him in His life of being homeless, despised and rejected. Lying in the truck bunk at a roadside park, staring at the ceiling, hoping no one would pound on the side of the truck to evict us, I felt new kinship with my Savior. He had taken me into His confidence and I had learned to know Him by new Names ..."Despised One", "Rejected One" and the "One Who Had No Place To Lay His Head".
Oh, Yes! We turn to Him readily as "WONDERFUL COUNSELOR", "MIGHTY GOD", "EVERLASTING FATHER", and "PRINCE OF PEACE"! We love Him as our gentle "Shepherd", "Older Brother", "Healer" and "Provider". But, must we share in His sufferings as the "Pierced One", the "Wounded One", the "Bruised" and "Broken One"? Do I really want to empathize with Him as One "Acquainted with Grief"?
He says, "Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete." (John 16:24) What does this mean? Does it mean tacking "In Jesus Name" to the end of every petition?
How can we ask unless we know Him in Whose Name we are asking?
Do I know Him as "Homeless" unless I have been homeless? How do I experience Him as "Scorned" until I have been the target of snickers and snide remarks?
When a friend turns against you and does you harm, then you can truly turn to Him as the One who was "Betrayed" for you. When your reputation has been smirched and lies spread about you, call upon the One who was "Falsely Accused", yet spoke not a word in His own defense.
If I truly want to KNOW Him, then there will come times when I must "share in the fellowship of His sufferings". I say I am His friend, but do I really want Him to take me into His confidence? How else can I understand His heart unless I experience some of what He suffered for me?
As He takes me into His confidence, by sharing His heart and mind with me, I will have greater understanding of who HE IS, and I will learn to know Him by His many names.
When I suffer physical pain, may I realize that I am sharing in the suffering of the "Wounded One", and call Him by that name!
When I do not know where the money will come from to pay for my basic sustenance, I want to embrace Him as my "Poor" Brother who had to depend on the handouts and donations of a fickle following to pay for His physical necessities.
Spurned by the one you hoped would share your life forever, call upon the Name of the One who was "Rejected" by those He loved the most.
When all of life is dark, and it seems God does not care what happens to you, remember the One, who, upon the cross, in Earth's darkest hour cried, "My God! My God! Why have You FORSAKEN me?" Call upon the "Abandoned" and "Forsaken" One.
Oh, yes! We DO love Him as our Comforter, our Redeemer, our Righteousness, and our Provider, but to know Him in intimacy as our Bridegroom, and to truly be His friends, it's necessary that we must learn to know Him by His other names as well.
Finally, knowing those Names, we can call Him by them. "Oh, Precious One who was WOUNDED for me! HOMELESS for ME! DESPISED and REJECTED One, My Treasure and My Lord!!!"
Hopefully as we learn the meaning of His names, we will become more like Him , and begin to see Him in the faces of the suffering people around us. Then perhaps, as we have learned to abide in Him, see through His eyes, and know Him by His names, we can more truly experience what it means to claim the promise of praying in JESUS' NAME.