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They Call Us By Name

Whenever we arrive at our dentist's office, we have to identify ourselves. Sometimes we just have to say something to the person behind the desk. Sometimes we have to prove it by showing some official government ID. And in some offices we stand in front of a screen and enter some info.

We then sit down and the waiting begins. You know what I'm talking about. That quiet, uncomfortable, fearful time while you just sit there and wait. And wait. And wait. We might try to distract ourselves by reading a magazine or scrolling through our phone. We'll do anything just to take our mind off what comes next.

They call us by name.

Even though they play relaxing music in the background, it doesn't help. We're still on edge. We're anxious about what they may find. What they may do. The pain they may inflict. And the sound of a tooth being drilled in the background certainly doesn't help.

The office might be empty or full. It doesn't matter. We nervously watch for someone to come from behind the desk into the waiting room, looking for the next victim. Oops, I meant to say, next patient. And then you hear it.

They call us by name.

They always, always, always call out our name. And if you were me, you'd hear all sorts of different pronunciations. You'd be surprised how creative people can be when attempting to say "Gladkowski." It's actually a really simple, three-syllable name. Glad - kow - ski.

Once your name is called, you take a gulp of air and stand up. They know you. It's you and no one else. There's no mistaken identity. There's no place to hide. And how did it start?

They call us by name.

In the opening episode of The Chosen, Mary from Magdala is struggling with her past. Her guilt. Her shame. What she's done. What's been done to her. Everyone knows who she is. Her past is really well known. Everyone condemns her. That is, until she meets Jesus. And what's the first thing he says to her?

And then Jesus speaks God's promise of lovingkindness to her.

Thus says the Lord who created you, and he who formed you. Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine.

Isaiah 43:1

I can't speak for you, but these are exactly the words I need to hear. The words I long to hear. To know that all my past sins and mistakes are forgiven by God. Not because of anything I've done to pay for them. But because God paid for them all through Jesus' death on the cross.

That's why God can call us by name. Not to condemn us but to receive us. To be kind to us. To love on us. To be with us now and for all eternity.

Isn't it time to let God call us by name? And to respond when he does.


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