The wonder of words that don’t make sense and the One that does

I love words, but sometimes they can really mess you up. They can seem to say one thing, and end up meaning something entirely different. Such as:

Jetsam–which is not an aircraft associated with the nickname of a famous Samuel, it is the part of a ship that has been purposely thrown overboard to lighten the ship.

Then we have words that have a verbal meaning and a noun-al meaning–one of which no one knows about until they meet a scholarly conversationalist who enjoys confusing the rest of us with their knowledge:

Jerk–which is a tug boat that could actually be a blessing to you should you find yourself committed to one (unless its hull is lacking integrity).

When you combine words, in some cases they each lose their meaning and…become something else that may still mean little to you:

Outcrop–not sure what they were thinking on this one because they certainly don’t mean a crop that is “out” there somewhere…

Which idiomatic expressions don’t strain your senses? Don’t look to one of these for a good example:

High horse–if I need to sit in a high place, which would be a better choice: this or a high-chair?

Snug as a bug in a rug–since when do we use expressions about the delight filthy bugs find in our rugs to describe how we feel when we’re comfy in bed…which hopefully have no bugs who are equally comfortable in our space?!

Consider for a moment the words that have meaning to us which can sometimes be so far off from what the actual meaning is:

You say ouch and I think hurt, sorry or stupid.

I say late and you think hurry, fast, darn.

As you can see, the connotation we apply to these words is inconsistent with the dictionary-description it’s been given. In other cases, the connotation we have seems to forget that there are multiple meanings for that same word we use:

treat and treat–one means something like desert and the other means something like medicine. Come on, can’t we get another word for one of them?

But, have you ever asked yourself what words are really for? It’s worth investigating whether there is an ultimate truth they were designed to communicate. Could it be that God invented language because He wanted to convey His love with immortal definition? Perhaps He wanted the inflection of phrases that might stay in our memory and awaken our imagination even when we were in the dark.

He decided to maintain a beauty that touches the soul even when the beauties of creation have faded and the wonders of intimate relationships have dwindled. What if He wanted a means of conveying revelation about Himself and us that would transcend the fragility of this world?

He has chosen to give us words that would be used to awaken our understanding of His Son, the living Word. He has preserved through thousands of years His written word so that the people He made might receive within their hearts the Word which gives expression to the passion of God and the need of us. In this way, who God is sinks deep into us, compelling and training us in the ways of the God who saved us from our sin and delivered us to His righteousness.

 

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