The God Of “Re”

The title of the talk seemed a bit odd: The God of “RE.”

I figured I was about to discover that “re” was a Greek or Hebrew word with deep theological significance. Pastors are good at digging out this sort of stuff. I suspect it reflects a need to justify the value of their seminary training.

But it turns out that “re” is just a familiar prefix. “Re” means again (repeat) or new (refresh).

I’d never thought about it, probably because I didn’t attend seminary. But the speaker pointed out that a lot of the words we associate with God are “re” words.

It makes sense. God is all about new beginnings, so maybe He is the God of “re.” On my own, I’m hopelessly broken. The God of “re” offers renewal, reconciliation, resurrection … what others can you come up with?

If I wanted to do a cheesy book promotion, I could even mention the title of my book…Relentless Grace.


Since I’m speaking at a retreat this weekend, that word popped into my brain. My mind wandered (don’t tell the pastor) and I wondered—is “retreat” a God word?

Retreat normally connotes running away in defeat. That’s certainly not part of God’s character.

But there’s another way to look at the origin of the word.

“Treat” originally meant “to consider” or “to analyze.” We still use it like that when we talk about how an author “treats” a particular subject. It comes from the same Latin root word that means “consider or handle.” So before it assumed its present meaning, “retreat” came from words that connoted “reconsider” or “re-analyze.”

A military commander will tell you that “retreat” doesn’t mean “running away” so much as “backing away” to take a fresh look. Retreat offers a chance for other “re” words—refresh, resupply, reenergize, reanalyze, and reconsider strategy and tactics.

Those are definitely God words. He doesn’t want me to run away, but I think He’s all in favor of the opportunity to back away, get a fresh perspective, and reenter the battle with renewed energy and perhaps a slightly revised plan of attack.

If we think of it like that, then we serve a God of retreat who offers new beginnings, a chance to reconsider, and the blessing of a fresh start.

Let’s make a list — what other words do you associate with the God of “re”?

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Copyright 2010 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.
Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:
Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance
. Visit his web site

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