Whatchamacallit

There seems to be a growing need for me to use this unique word, that is, if I can remember it.  Whatchamacallit, after all, is a pretty useful word.  The problem is that when you go to the hardware store looking for a whatchamacallit in order to fix something at home and you can’t find it, the store clerk can’t find it either.  I can’t figure out how those clerks can’t ever find what I am looking for!  

Daniel Block, a Hebrew scholar I have enjoyed reading over the years, writes about the whatchamacallit of the Old Testament; and I quote,  “When they saw it, they said ‘man hu’ which means “What is it?” which is why it came to be called ‘manna.’ If we want to translate that into English, we would have to translate it something like the whatchamacallit—‘manna.’ That’s what the word ‘manna’ means” (OT312 Book Study: Deuteronomy by Daniel I Block).  The Hebrews used the word for whatchamacallit because this was a new unnamed and unknown food that God made to sustain the Israelites while traveling forty years through the wilderness.  They were on the way to the promised land, a land abundant in milk and honey, grapevines filled with fruit so heavy it took two men to carry, pomegranates, and figs to galore (Numbers 13:23).  You might remember that the Israelites got pretty tired of whatchamacallit food to the extent that they craved cucumbers and onions! (Numbers 11:5).  They complained about the food that the hands of God prepared for them.  

Paul, in the New Testament of the Holy Bible, makes an amazing statement that just might be related.  Philippians 4:11 (NASB95): “I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”  This raises the question, “Can I be content with whatever the Lord provides?”  The word “whatever” is the word “whatchamacallit’s” sister word.  If God gives me whatever whatchamacallit He decides to give me, will it be enough to make me content?  “Yes!” Is the answer.  But there are days like the last day of the fortieth year of treading through a desert, that I might be compelled to ask “How?”  

Paul helps with this question, too.  It is just a backward glance up the page in the Bible.  “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8–9 NASB95).  The answer is “whatever!”  Whatever whatchamacallit God lays out on my dinner table or determines for my daily diet of experience, I will train my thoughts onto the true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and good God.  I will bury my gripes and growl no more.  I will grade off a spot, and build my house on it.  I will move all my stuff inside and “dwell” — or settle down — with the “whatevers” and “whatchamacallits” that God has lavished upon me out of His sterling love, clear knowledge, and absolute power.  

Stephen Williams 

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