In 2020 many of us are concerned about privacy. Huge amounts of personal information are collected that create profiles kept by tech companies like Google™. What we buy, where we use our credit cards, our Netflix viewing habits, our financial data, our internet browsing – all of it ‘paints’ a picture of us that marketers can use. You do not have to a conspiracy nut to worry about the amount of information the government collects on each one of us; information that could be used for all the wrong reasons. But, still, we long to be known!
One of the most wonderful feelings in the world is having someone who really knows you, who understands why you do what you do, who cares when you are struggling, who shares in your joys. One of our greatest fears is being ALONE.
Cheers was a sit-com that played on TV for 10 years, beginning in 1982. It was based on the people who hung out in a Boston pub. The theme song is compelling (at least to me, smile!) –
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came
You want to be where you can see
The troubles are all the same.
You want to be where everybody knows your name. (Gary Portnoy)
Ok, so it’s not Shakespeare but we can understand the universal human longing to be known that those words express, can’t we?
God knows YOU and ME. I often remind people in our congregation that the One who knows you best, loves you most. Think about that.
David, inspired by the Spirit wrote a song about the depth of God’s knowing. He says “O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:1-3, NIV) He sings of God’s perfect knowledge of our words before we speak them, that He knew us before we were created in our mother’s womb, that all of our days are written in His knowledge before we live them! How can it be? But, it’s true! God, in His perfect and amazing fore-knowledge, knows it all and HE knows me.
Does that threaten you or comfort you? Our response to His knowledge largely depends on our willingness to trust Him and to walk with Him as Lord. If we are rebels, if we let things like hate, lust, greed, and selfishness shape our days, we don’t want Him to know. However, if we understand His love and grace, if we trust that He is for us, not against us, His knowledge secures us, helping not to feel lost, alone, or at the mercy of the winds of fate.
Mark tells us a story about Jesus’ love for a woman who was invisible in her world. She had an “issue of blood,” a constant hemorrhage, (KJV) the Bible says. Seeking relief “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” (Mark 5:26, NIV) Beyond her misery, in her culture she was considered ritually unclean, isolated from general society, unable to attend synagogue, making others who risked contact with her ritually unclean as well! (It was form of social distancing, not made to be cruel but to stop the spread of disease.) The worst was the fact that because of a mistaken understanding of the nature of God, most people thought she was getting what she deserved, under the judgment of God, for something she had done. Alone suffering, sick, broke, and judged: a tragic life.
She heard about a Healer named Jesus, Who was coming to her town. “She slipped in from behind and touched his robe. She was thinking to herself, “If I can put a finger on his robe, I can get well.” The moment she did it, the flow of blood dried up. She could feel the change and knew her plague was over and done with.” (The Message. Mark 5:27) Jesus knew she needed more than physical healing. Her broken heart needed to be restored, too. He stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” His disciples chided Him for the ridiculous question. “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’” (Mark 5:31, NIV) The woman, who was trembling with fear Mark says, emerged from the shadows and identified herself.
Tenderly, lovingly, Jesus reached out to a woman who was used to being ignored. She expected a rebuke from Him for making Him unclean. She’s used to being an object but instead He gives her dignity. “Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.” (Mark 5:34, The Message) Daughter! To Him she is not just ‘woman.’ She’s not just ‘unclean.’ She’s a daughter of God, a person who matters enough that the Master will look her in the eyes and call her His own!
Deep emotion wells up in me as I read that and, by faith, know that He knows MY name, too. In a world of billions of people, where many of us feel like an object rather than a person, God reminds us that He sees us, loves us.
Christian friend, He loves YOU.
Turn to Him in faith and present yourself, as you are, to Him. He will NOT reject you.
My prayer is that the quiet voice of the Spirit will answer with the revelation that He knows YOU.
Here’s the word from the Word. “I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:15)
He Knows My Name
(A simple song by Tommy Walker. Listen and be loved!)
I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in His hand
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call
I have a Father
He calls me His own
He’ll never leave me
No matter where I go
Tommy Walker © 1996 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Songs (Admin. by Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing, Inc.)
CCLI License # 810055