My name is Dayna. In Hebrew it means “God is my judge.” A powerful reminder to me over the years that I am not to fear any man, but only God, the true “judge” of my soul, the reader of my thoughts, the one watching over my comings and goings. The one who sits in a place of authority to reach out and bless me with his Strong Arm. To defend me when necessary, to allow his Son to intercede, to be a place of refuge and healing in a time of need.
In my impressionable 20’s, I served as a Court Reporter for two years while working for the local newspaper in Banff, Alberta. What a great window that was into the nature of a good judge vs an apathetic or tired or even bitter judge. The heart-perspective of the person who sat in this place of authority made a huge difference, for everyone involved.
The good judges did more good for people in one session than I had thought possible. The good judges changed lives. Brought justice, while being open to hearing so many stories, so many sides. They recognized when a young offender (or near enough to being labeled ‘young’) had someone in their camp, a father standing up at the same time his son was called. The father standing from the regular seats, with everyone around him seated and many of them staring, while his boy held his own at the front of the court, immediately in front of the judge’s bench. Good judges took note. Made allowance.
Good judges knew the lawyers. They mingled with everyone involved, even lowly community reporters. They hosted people for barbeques. They valued relationships. They had faith in the process they had signed up, for life. They seemed to have done the inner work to weather the storms (floods?) of disappointment in the nature of humanity; in our ability to love one another (or not); they sat on that bench having seen it all and come out the other side, still believing. In the good. In the right. In the process.
They stood firm by the relationship between justice (done first, to protect the innocent) and mercy (following in its wake once the lines of civil society had been enforced and affirmed in word and/or deed). They lived what they preached. Operated with integrity. Had clean hands.
God is my judge. This might sound scary if your name doesn’t give you an affinity for ‘judgment,’ or the same kind of life experiences that have led me to a deep appreciation of the whole process. But these are reassuring words to me. I have often leaned on them. And taken comfort that, thanks to my mom’s choice of my name, deep in my bones I sense what it means to say, “God is my judge.” And trust that he is good, and he is strong. And he will do right by me, as he has led me to do by him.
In the end, good judges work for freedom. A free and just society. Free, responsible individuals. The righting of wrongs and lessons learned that allow us to walk in ever-greater, more effective free will. It is a gift of God, this free will we are endowed with. But sometimes it takes a good judge on the bench to help us work out all that it means; it’s deep significance. To know that as Christians, our name means God is my judge. And he is sovereign over all; would see us all live upright and free, including being free of the fear of Man.
I’m so glad, God is my judge.
Dayna Mazzuca is a writer, speaker and poet working from home in Sylvan Lake. Her formal background is in Philosophy, Journalism and Spiritual Formation. These topics tend to overlap in her writings on the spiritual journey, her eight books of poetry and her online work. Her most recent project is an online course called “The Power of Authentic Storytelling” and can be found on her new site – www.daynamazzuca.com.