September 3, 2015
God Knows Your Name
Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine (Isaiah 43:1 esv).
Friend to Friend
“Daddy,” I whispered. “Don’t you know who I am?”
There have been several people in my life who never seem to remember my name. Some of my more popular aliases are Sarah James, Susan James, Shannon James, and Jane Jaynes. Then there are the people who just can’t remember me altogether and don’t even try to fish a name from their memory pool. To tell you the truth, it has never really bothered me. After all, I’m not very good with names either.
But names are very important to God. In the Bible, a person’s name often revealed a unique quality of their character. “Moses” meant “drawn out of water.” “Ruth” meant “woman friend.” “Naomi” meant “pleasant,” and she later changed her name to “Mara,” which meant “bitter.” Her two sons’ names, “Mahlon” and “Kilion,” meant “puny” and “piney.” Needless to say, these two fellows weren’t exactly strapping young broncos, and they died at an early age. If a person had an encounter with the living God, many times He changed their name. “Abram” was changed to “Abraham;” “Sarai” was changed to “Sarah;” and “Saul” was changed to “Paul.”
Yes, names are very important. That’s why when someone very dear to me forgot mine, it broke my heart.
A few years after I was married, I noticed my dad becoming very forgetful. At first it was small things: forgetting an order at work, misplacing his shoes or keys, not remembering what day it was, drawing a blank on a close friend’s name. Then it progressed to more serious absentminded behavior: forgetting where he parked in a parking deck; coming home to take my mom to the market, forgetting he had taken her already an hour before; and becoming confused when taking measurements for cabinets, a task he had been doing for some 30 years. Then one day our greatest fears were confirmed—Dad had Alzheimer’s disease. He was 56 years old.
My dad had been a tough cookie as a young man. He ran a building supply business and was well-respected in the business community of our small town. From age 56 to 66, I watched a strapping, quick-witted entrepreneur reduced to a man who could not remember how to speak, button his shirt, or move a spoon from his plate to his mouth. But my most heart-wrenching day was the day he forgot my name.
I still remember holding his face in my hands and saying, “Daddy, it’s me. Do you know who I am?” But I was only met by a childish grin and eyes that seemed to look straight through me.
In Isaiah 49:1, the prophet announces, “Before I was born the Lord called me; from my birth he has made mention of my name.”
God knows your name, and the Bible promises He will never forget it. And if we listen closely, perhaps in the vibrant hues of a sunset, the gentle breeze off the ocean, or the soft patter of falling snow, we’ll hear Him gently calling.
Today, listen for God speaking your name through nature, through His Word, or even through the love of a friend.
Heavenly Father, thank You for calling me by name and inscribing it on the palm of Your hand. I know You will never forget me or forget about me, and that I’ll always be on Your mind.
In Jesus' Name,
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