During a visit to the National September 11 Memorial in New York City, I quickly photographed one of the twin reflecting pools. Around these two pools, the names of the nearly 3,000 people who died in the World Trade Center attacks are etched into bronze panels. Later, while looking more closely at the photo, my eyes were drawn to the hand of a woman resting on a name. Many people come to this place to touch a name and remember someone they loved.
The prophet Isaiah reminded God’s people of His unfailing love and concern for them, even though they had often turned away from Him. The Lord said, “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
In the 23rd Psalm, David wrote, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley [the valley of the shadow of death], I will fear no evil, for you are with me . . . . Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (vv. 4, 6).
God never forgets us. No matter where we are or whatever our situation, He knows our names and holds us fast in His unfailing love.
Father in heaven, thank You for calling us by name and surrounding us with Your love, today and forever.
God knows our names and He holds us fast in His love.
Psalm 23 describes God’s intimate love for us. We see the same theme in the New Testament. In John 10, Jesus described Himself as the “good shepherd” who lays down His life for the sheep (v. 11). But this is only one facet of His personal, intimate care for the flock. In verse 3 Jesus says, “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” He calls His sheep “by name”! This is beautifully pictured on resurrection day. Mary Magdalene went to the tomb to mourn Jesus’s death and to complete the burial process (20:1–18). Finding the tomb empty, she wept (v. 11); and the risen Jesus came to her, asking questions that probed her heart. She failed to recognize Jesus—until He called her by name (v. 16). In that moment, she was aware that Christ Himself stood before her. No wonder Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” To be loved and known by God is one of salvation’s greatest gifts!