When I get a new email, the black off screen of my phone briefly lights up and shows me a 3-line preview of the email, if I am looking at my phone. Thursday, I am sitting at Rib and Loin, eating chicken wings, when I see the black screen light up with an email. Because my hands are messy, I look at the preview, but don’t open the message. All I see is: “Dear [insert name here], we are sure you have a lot to worry about …” Then the message cuts off. But the only message I received is that the sender of this email was sending a mass email, intending to merge in hundreds of names with computer automation, but their automation failed, leaving “[insert name here]” instead of my actual name. They never even thought of me when they sent that email. I’m just a line on a spreadsheet. Impersonal, inattentive.
Our Heavenly Father is the exact opposite of the sender of that email. Even though he created the heavens and the earth, he also knows you by name. For this reason, he says “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine!” (Isaiah 43:1). Jesus compares himself to a shepherd when he says, “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 10:3-4). Later, he says, “I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me” (John 10:14). Never think of God as too busy, or distant, or unconcerned to pay attention to you. He knows your name, your feelings, even your secret thoughts – and he loves you anyway. He calls his own by name. When the great day comes, will he call your name?