What’s in a Name?
by Martha Nelson
When we were born, our parents gave us a name. Not a number, but a first name that was special to them. They “owned” us and loved us – and they showed this by choosing a special first name. And to that, they added their last name to show to whom we belonged.
I felt my first name was pretty old fashioned for many years. But whether you like yours or not– it is yours and it identifies who you are and where you came from. You may even have a nickname that your parents used when you were little and that stuck, even if just between you and them. Mine was “Possy” or “Poss” (for possum) because I slept a lot as a baby. Sounds pretty silly to outsiders, but I liked it when my parents affectionately referred to me by this nickname. No one else used it; it was special.
You Are Mine
Recently I read a verse in the Bible that said, “I have called you by name, you are mine.” This verse is quoting our Creator as someone who first of all KNOWS us by name – as unique individuals – and then calls us by that name and claims loving possession of us. This isn’t a roll call of serial numbers – He is acknowledging that we each have a unique name that He knows – even one that He gave us (like a nickname) and He is calling us to Himself. It’s a very personal, “family based” way of thinking. In other words, it speaks of a relationship He feels He has with us.
In these days of “identify theft” we naturally think of hiding our name from outsiders. But just as our parents and family will always know our name - even the perhaps embarrassing nickname – our Creator also knows that name and wants us to feel that we belong to Him. And He longs for that relationship to be deepened more than we can ever imagine.
The quote above goes on to say, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…. Fear not, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 43: 1-5)
We’ve been through some pretty scary times this year – and there may be other challenging days ahead of us. But our Creator has said that He is with us and will carry us through because He loves us as His own named children. You are not alone; I am not alone. There is Someone in charge of what seems like a chaotic world. And in the same way we would trust a loving parent, He longs for us to trust Him.