This morning I was reading to Sawyer in The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. He kept asking me to read the one “where Jesus dies on the cross.” We sat down to read it and continued a few stories past. In the story titled “God’s wonderful surprise,” Mary is searching for Jesus. She has gone to the tomb with the other women but has found the tomb empty. Instead of returning home with the others, she continues to search for Him. Jesus, of course, is there, but she does not recognize Him. She mistakes Him for the gardener and asks where he has put Jesus’ body so that she may go and get Him.
“‘I don’t know where Jesus is!’ Mary said urgently. ‘I can’t find him.’
But it was all right. Jesus knew where she was. And he had found her.
Only one person said her name like that. She could hear her heart thumping.”
This reading gets me every single time. And we have read it a lot. And we have watched it a lot. But every single time, tears well up in my eyes.
I read a list of “What Love Means” to little kids while I was in undergrad many years ago. On that list, there was this: “When you love someone, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
I think Mary felt like this. As soon as Jesus said her name, she knew it was Him, that she was safe forever. So many other people called her by her name that day, I can imagine. But none of them said her name like He did. And no one says our names like He does. He has formed us, He has created us, He has called us by name. It is written in the first verse of Isaiah 43,
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.
What is so great about our God is that He also calls us by His name. We are His. We are not just something He created. As believers, we are adopted into His family. When we are born or adopted into our families here on Earth, we are given a last name. This holds weight. It gives us belonging into a clan, so to speak. We are associated with those people in our family who hold this same last name, for good or bad. Growing up in a small town in Florida, almost everyone knew who my family was by our last name. My grandfather had, and still has, left a great legacy. I am thankful to be a part of this family. It was honestly hard for me to move to a place where people did not know my family, my last name; I was missing my identity as a member of my family. But the great news is, wherever I go, I am always called by my Father’s name, the name of God:
"everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
It does not matter where I go, I am never out of the family of God. I am associated with the Creator of the Universe, with God Himself, always. Now, that name is a safe name. That is a name I want to be called by. I so look forward to the day when I hear Jesus say, “Dusty.” I think my heart, too, will thump so loudly. Or it may even stop all together.