When God Whispers Your Name
by Max Lucado
The sheep listen to the voice of the shepherd. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
WHEN I SEE a flock of sheep I see exactly that, a flock. A rabble of wool. A herd of hooves. I don’t see a sheep. I see sheep. All alike. None different. That’s what I see.
But not so with the shepherd. To him every sheep is different. Every face is special. Every face has a story. And every sheep has a name.The one with the sad eyes, that’s Droopy. And the fellow with one ear up and the other down, I call him Oscar. And the small one with the black patch on his leg, he’s an orphan with no brothers. I call him Joseph.
The shepherd knows his sheep. He calls them by name.
When we see a crowd, we see exactly that, a crowd. Filling a stadium or flooding a mall. When we see a crowd, we see people, not persons, but people. A herd of humans. A flock of faces. That’s what we see.
But not so with the Shepherd. To him every face is different. Every face is a story. Every face is a child. Every child has a name. The one with the sad eyes, that’s Sally. The old fellow with one eyebrow up and the other down, Harry’s his name. And the young one with the limp? He’s an orphan with no brothers. I call him Joey.
The Shepherd knows his sheep. He knows each one by name. The Shepherd knows you. He knows your name. And he will never forget it. I have written your name on my hand (Isa. 49:16).
Quite a thought, isn’t it? Your name on God’s hand. Your name on God’s lips. Maybe you’ve seen your name in some special places. On an award or diploma or walnut door. Or maybe you’ve heard your name from some important people—a coach, a celebrity, a teacher. But to think that your name is on God’s hand and on God’s lips . . . my, could it be?
Or perhaps you’ve never seen your name honored. And you can’t remember when you heard it spoken with kindness. If so, it may be more difficult for you to believe that God knows your name.
But he does. Written on his hand. Spoken by his mouth. Whispered by his lips. Your name. And not only the name you now have, but the name he has in store for you. A new name he will give you . . .
When God Whispers Your Name is a book of hope. A book whose sole aim is to encourage. I’ve harvested thoughts from a landscape of fields. And though their size and flavors are varied, their purpose is singular: to provide you, the reader, with a word of hope. I thought you could use it.
You’ve been on my mind as I’ve been writing. I’ve thought of you often. I honestly have. Over the years I’ve gotten to know some of you folks well. I’ve read your letters, shaken your hands, and watched your eyes. I think I know you.
You’re busy. Time passes before your tasks are finished. And if you get a chance to read, it’s a slim chance indeed.
You’re anxious. Bad news outpaces the good. Problems outnumber solutions. And you are concerned. What future do your children have on this earth? What future do you have?
You’re cautious. You don’t trust as easily as you once did.
Politicians lied. The system failed. The minister compromised. Your spouse cheated. It’s not easy to trust. It’s not that you don’t want to. It’s just that you want to be careful.
There is one other thing. You’ve made some mistakes. I met one of you at a bookstore in Michigan. A businessman, you seldom came out of your office at all and never to meet an author. But then you did. You were regretting the many hours at work and the few hours at home and wanted to talk.
And the single mom in Chicago. One kid was tugging, the other crying, but juggling them both, you made your point. “I made mistakes,” you explained, “but I really want to try again.”
And there was that night in Fresno. The musician sang and I spoke and you came. You almost didn’t. You almost stayed home. Just that day you’d found the note from your wife. She was leaving you. But you came anyway. Hoping I’d have something for the pain. Hoping I’d have an answer. Where is God at a time like this?
And so as I wrote, I thought about you. All of you. You aren’t malicious. You aren’t evil. You aren’t hardhearted, (hardheaded occasionally, but not hardhearted). You really want to do what is right. But sometimes life turns south. Occasionally we need a reminder.
Not a sermon.
A reminder that God knows your name.
From When God Whispers Your Name
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado