He Calls Me by Name!
Part II: Moms and Isaiah 43:1-3a
Being a mother has taught me a lot about God's love. God uses many examples drawn from the parent/child relationship to teach us truths about his infinite and perfect care for us. Whenever we need to understand this better, we can turn to these examples for help.
In Isaiah 43:1-3a, God tells his children that he formed them; redeemed them, and called them by name. He says to them, "You are Mine!".
God created us. He formed us. Thus, he knows what makes us tick. He knows what we need and when we need it. He knows what makes us sad and what makes us happy. He knows what is best for us, even when we can't see it ourselves.
It's exciting to me that he calls His own by name. This idea is made even more personal in John 10:3-5, where Jesus tells us that God calls his individual sheep by name.
"and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name, and leads them out..the sheep follow him because they know his voice and a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee."
Jesus offers us such a beautiful intimacy of relationship! Jesus watches over each of us who are His. He invites us to know him on such a deep level that we respond to His voice. He invites each of us by name to follow Him.
Isn't there something special about hearing someone you love or care about call your name? Do you remember being picked to be on someone's team for a game on the playground? Weren't you glad to hear your name called? Didn't it make you feel wanted? Or, was there a time when your name didn't get called or you got called last? Do you remember how forlorn that made you feel? I do.
Or, was there ever a time in your childhood when you were frightened by the dark and you cried out? Did you hear a parent call your name as he or she came walking toward your room? Once you heard your parent's voice, didn't that make everything all right? If a young child is upset, he doesn't respond well to a stranger's voice. He wants Mommy or Daddy.
Even now that I am an adult, I love my husband's voice. If I am upstairs when he comes home and I hear him calls my name, it delights me. If he travels out of town, and I hear his voice on the phone, calling my name, it comforts me.
In the same way, if we know Jesus, we love hearing his voice in the Word. We run to it. We seek it out. We follow the sound of his voice. We obey his teaching, because we trust His love and wisdom.
In listening to Jesus' voice, we are protected from following the stranger's voice. The stranger's voice calls to us loudly and often. (Proverbs Chapter Nine)
Sometimes, the stranger will disguise his voice so that it seems innocent. When Jesus spoke of going to the cross in Matthew 16, Peter tried to stop him. Perhaps, the cross didn't fit Peter's view of what the Messiah had come to do. Or, perhaps, he didn't want his teacher and friend to suffer.
Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me for you are not setting your mind on God's interests, but man's." Jesus knew God's voice, and he knew that Peter's advice at that moment was not in line with God's will. He looked past Peter and saw Satan's influence. His intimate knowledge of God's voice kept him from following some well-meant, but totally wrong, advice from a beloved disciple. In the same way, we need to know Christ's voice so intimately that we will not follow the stranger's influence, no matter through what source it comes.
It won't be until we get to heaven that we finally see the Lord face to face. Right now, we hear his voice through his word and through His Spirit within us.
In the same way, our own voice is the first thing our children will hear in many situations. Perhaps, they will wake up in the morning and hear us talking. Or, maybe, they will be away at camp and hear our voice on the phone. Perhaps, they are sick and in a clinic, and they hear our voice before we reach the clinic door. We want always to speak to our children in a manner that they associate our voice with love, guidance, and reassurance. Even when we must speak firmly to them, we want to do so in a way that they know it is because we love them. We want to spend enough time with them that they know our voice intimately, and we also know their voice -- their thoughts, impressions, hurts, and delights. We also want to point our children to Jesus' voice through the Scriptures so that they are prepared to hear His call.
Our voice in our children's lives is very profound, and we should be mindful of both the words we say and the way we say them. A study of what proverbs has to say about speech is always helpful to a wife and/or mother.
Isn't it beautiful that we can hear Jesus' voice through the Bible? Doesn't that make you want to read it, memorize it, and follow the instructions in it? If you ever doubt if you are important to God, remember that Jesus invites you by name to follow Him. He knows your name, and He knows the names of your children. Our part is to believe Him. Simple faith bids us to come when He calls and to follow where He leads. (John 10:26-27).
If we know Jesus' voice now, one day we will hear Him call our name, telling us to come home. As the song says, "Won't that be a day!"