It is my opinion (while un-researched and somewhat arbitrary) that the one word that anyone can pick out of a noisy room is his or her own name. There may be all kinds of side conversations, or we may be buried with our nose in a screen, but our name often gets our attention. Sometimes, I’ll hear my name mentioned even when no one actually said it (probably my imagination, I guess). When I was a kid, I remember calling for my mom (trying to find her within the church building) by her first name once. I wasn’t trying to be rude, but there were too many other women at the church who were also named “Mom” !
Much is said in the Bible about God’s name. He shared His name to Moses, and other authors give him descriptive names that reflect His character as they have observed it. However, God also knows our name:
But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
John 10:2-4 NASB
Now, in some ways this just makes sense. God is omniscient (all-knowing), so it stands to reason that He knows who we are.
However, this is more personal than facial recognition or having some sort of “holy database” of all human beings. God knows us personally and individually, from our personality and appearance, to our innermost thoughts and hopes. He cares about your struggles and aspirations, and understands the thoughts that you have never voiced.
That’s easy enough to say, I suppose. We may have heard a pastor or teacher tell us this – probably accompanied by a reference to the hairs on our head being counted (see Luke 12:7). Typically, if the speaker happens to be bald guy, this is followed by a self-deprecating comment about how that count is pretty easy to measure in his own case.
Instead, though, I would like to invite you to do something more personal: Think of your name in God’s call. Mentally (or verbally) say each of these phrases, with your own name in the blank1. You can use your first name, your full name, your surname, your nickname, or whatever you think that God – your Heavenly Father – would call you:
- I love you so much, ________. (See John 3:16)
- ________, I will never leave you. (See Hebrews 13:5)
- Nothing can separate you, _______, from My love. (See Romans 8:38-39)
- You were custom-created, ________. (See Psalm 139:13-14)
Now, I understand that reading articles like this can become an exercise in speed-reading, and it’s tempting to skip over something like this. But, I’m not asking you to click on a link, or even do something that will require you to take action outside of this screen’s worth of writing. I’m just asking that you consider personalizing God’s promises, not just by mentally agreeing that they apply to you, but by actually associating your name with His promises.
I admit, while I have read God’s promises, and “knew” (intellectually) that they applied to me, until I put my name into those promises, it didn’t have the same effect. I still need to remind myself from time to time that His interest includes me personally, and that He isn’t too busy (unlike, say, the CEO of the company where I work, or the president of the country where I live) to talk with me every single day.
Whether you understand God’s personal love for you in this way, or personalize His promises in some other fashion, I hope you understand that His love is not generalized to “humanity”, or “people at large”, but that – as part of its universal scope – it is also specific to you.
See also A New Name, for more about what God calls us.
- We must be careful putting words into God’s mouth. However, the promises are there for you to read, yourself, and I hope that you will ask God to show you some specific examples of how His promises apply to you. ↩