I was on a carefree bike ride one hot summer afternoon. As I cruised smoothly on the sidewalk into our peaceful little town, I headed for the grocery store to get my daily popsicle. Being eleven years old was such a happy-go-lucky time. While thoroughly enjoying the ride, my biggest concern was whether to have a root beer or banana popsicle. Decisions, decisions.
Suddenly as I blissfully coasted past a parked car, a loud, gravelly voice bellowed from the car window, “HEY, WOMAN!!!” Instantly shocked and terrified, I lost control of the bicycle and wrecked right on the concrete, knees and elbows scraping across the sidewalk. I scrambled to pick up the bike, compose myself, and duck into the store for safety. I had no idea who was yelling at me, but I ran for cover into the little store where my mother worked.
Once inside, I peered out the store window to the car to see who had roared at me. The gravelly-voiced woman was not an acquaintance of mine, and as she peered out of the open car window, I realized she was calling out to everyone passing by. It was her way of greeting them and meant no harm whatsoever. She exclaimed, “HEY WOMAN!” to other passersby, and those who knew her returned the greeting.
Have you ever been called “Hey YOU!” or “You there!” or “Hey buddy!”? Questions arise in your mind. Are they talking to me? Who are they motioning for? Do you mean me? It’s unsettling when you don’t hear your name and must guess whether to respond or not.
Once in a high school classroom, I let myself slip into a daydream because I was bored. The teacher kept lecturing about history, and my mind strayed farther and farther away. Suddenly, the class became eerily quiet, and I heard the teacher singing, “Teeny, come ba-aaaaack.” At hearing the nickname he’d given me— “Teeny”—I snapped out of my daydream and re-entered reality, as all eyes were on me, and my classmates had a good chuckle. A name is important, sometimes embarrassingly so! There was no doubt who the teacher was addressing.
God knows your name. He knows what you’re doing right now, what you did yesterday, and how troubled or peaceful your thoughts are. The Lord knows where you’ve been and where you’re headed, whether that’s a good place or bad. He knows every pain you’ve suffered, every disease that has tormented you, every victory you’ve celebrated, and every defeat you’ve endured. When you talk to Him, He listens with His Father’s heart to your words and waits for the opportunity to help, encourage, and guide you.
When He says your name, there is no one else He’s talking to. Sometimes, in moments of solitude before Him--perhaps in your bedroom or car or on a park bench—He speaks in a still, small voice directly into your heart, and you know that the Creator of the Universe loves you. Sometimes He highlights a scripture as you read the Bible, and it seems to have your name written on it because He’s saying it to you—just you—at that moment. He knows your name and what makes you tick. He knows your name and how to reach into the deepest part of your soul to bring healing, strength, joy, or peace.
The One who made the sun, moon, and stars, giving each a name, calls you by your name, too. You are not “Hey YOU,” or “You there,” or “Hey buddy.” There are no generalities among God’s kids. He knows each one of us individually and intimately.
It would astound us to learn how much the Father knows about our lives and how significant our names are to Him. He has a very important book entitled “The Lamb’s Book of Life,” and those who know Christ as Lord and Savior have their names entered in the registry of that incredible book. He knows your name and is carefully attentive as to whether it’s in “The Lamb’s Book of Life” or not.
David understood God’s intensely personal involvement very well as he wrote in Psalm 139:1-2, “O Lord, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar.” He continues in verse 4, “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.” “David” means “beloved,” and indeed, he was most beloved of God. He was even called “a man after God’s own heart" (1 Samuel 13:14).
Why not research the Christian meaning of your name and determine if you’re wearing it well? Your name is of great value to God; let it be so to yourself, also. My father chose my name. “Christine Louise” means “follower of Christ, famous in war.” The longer I serve the Lord, the more meaningful it has become to me, for He has taught me about the need for both intimacy with Him and an understanding of spiritual warfare as we face the darkness in the world.
The Lord said this to Jacob (and to us!) in Isaiah 43:1 (ESV), Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. He knows your name!
© 2023, Chris Werre