January 19, 2011
But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine." Isaiah 43:1
They say if you want to make a good first impression on someone, you should use his name.
Folks are flattered that you remembered who they are.
If that's the case, there is a congressman who is in trouble. Let me explain why.
On December 12th, Sergeant Sean Collins, having completed two tours of duty in Iraq and serving his first in Afghanistan, was murdered by a suicide bomber.
In an appropriate show of respect, the congressman of Sean's parents sent a letter of sympathy. It was the appropriate thing to do.
The problem is this: rather than calling Sean by his name, that is: Sean, the letter referred to the sergeant as Byrn. That's right; the congressman got the sergeant's name wrong. Collins' parents said, we "were kind of taken aback by wow! this is probably just a form letter and (nobody) didn't even take the time to proofread it so it was really disappointing."
I think I would be disappointed, too.
Of course, as Christians, that's not something we have to worry about, is it?
It's true that "God loved the world ..." (John 3:16a), but He also loves each of us as individuals.
The Lord listens to prayer, but not just broad, generic prayer. The Lord listens to the petitions of each individual's heart.
The Lord forgives sins, but not just sins in general; He forgives individual sins, special sins, big sins and sins that are troublesome. He especially can forgive those sins we think of as being beyond the scope of forgiveness.
All of this means the Lord who created and formed us, who sent His only Son to redeem us, has called us by our names.
We are His.
THE PRAYER: Dear Heavenly Father, for creating, redeeming and keeping me, I give thanks. May I be given the heart that will hold You as dear as You hold me. In the Savior's Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries