Saturday, 27 June 2009



I don't think anybody grows up in what they would consider a perfectly normal family. After all, children are almost expected to be embarrassed by their parents. Even if we're not embarrassed by our parents, there are things that we do differently to our friends. Sometimes we appreciate being unique; at other times we resent being the odd one out. We're never identical.

I think that most of us, though, have it relatively easy. Consider, for instance, Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. His name sounds strange and looks strange. It's meaning in his own language is even stranger: 'quick to the plunder and swift to the spoil' or in a looser, more colloqiual translation 'lotsa loot, plenty plunder'. The outrageous names of modern celebrities' children pale in comparison.

Then of course, there's the fact that Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz's dad was simply weird. With the knowledge of Jesus' life and death, and thousands of years of study, people don't really understand everything Isaiah said. While he as saying it, I think he must have been considered fairly loony. Especially at the times when God told him to walk around prophesying naked.

Isaiah wasn't the most dramatic of the prophets, but for me that emphasises rather than downplays how strange his life must have been. Some of the prophets did things that are beyond what I can really imagine or understand, but Isaiah's actions just push at my boundaries. I'd be horrified if I had to do those things tomorrow or if I had to watch somebody else doing them, but I can see that it could be done. I can, to some extent, put myself in the shoes of the young Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.

Right now I'm grateful that God's given me a more average path to walk. When I think life is tough or that being a Christian means being a bit of a freak, I'll remember Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, whose life must have been much weirder than mine.

(This time I wrote for fifteen minutes straight and just did a tiny bit of cleaning up at the end.

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