God Knows Your Name

I was one of three Lori’s in my third grade class. During roll call, because my last name began with S, I had to listen for the first Lori, the second Lori, and the third Lori before I could respond, “Here,” and the teacher would mark me present.

My husband’s scenario was even worse. In a homeroom class of students whose name began with H, he was the third David. But he wasn’t just David. He wasn’t even David H. He was David H-A. Imagine going through high school as David H-A.

When the time came to select names for our unborn baby, David immediately rejected my suggestion to name the potential boy David. “There are too many David Hatchers in the world already,” he said. And that was the end of our discussion.

At the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference last year, I served on faculty with my friend and fellow blogger, Lori Roeleveld. We were two Lori’s, both from Rhode Island, both teaching writing and blogging classes.

At mealtime faculty members sit at tables with name placards so conferees can eat with them and pick their brains. I had quite a few writers approach my table, eager to gather pearls of wisdom. Then they’d look at my name placard, frown, and ask, “Are you the Lori who . . .?”

“No, I’m the other Lori,” I’d say, and direct them across the room. After the first day I edited my placard to read Lori Hatcher, NOT Lori Roeleveld.

In addition to our first names, Lori R. and I share the same agent and the same publisher. Our books released two days apart in December 2014. In the crazy month leading up to our book launches, she’d get my beta reader copies in the mail, and I’d get her emails.

“You haven’t received your beta copies yet?” my publisher asked. “Must have sent them to the other Lori . . .”

I joked that since her book was destined to become a bestseller, I wouldn’t mind if he mixed up the royalty checks. Sadly, that hasn’t happened.

You may not share a common name with someone, like Lori R., David H-A, and me, but you may still feel invisible. Or passed over. Or marginalized. You may feel like you’re nothing special, or that no one even knows your name.

Today in my quiet time, I discovered a chapter that made me feel very special. I think it will encourage you, too. That God tucked these encouraging words into the book of Numbers makes the lesson even more profound. Of all the books in the Old Testament, I suspect the book of Numbers gets passed over and marginalized more than most.

Numbers 1 and 2 are devoted to the details of the military census the Lord asked Moses to conduct. Using the exact same words in every paragraph, the 12 chapters describe how many fighting men came from each tribe. Here’s an example:

From the tribe of Simeon, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, of those who were numbered, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war. . . 

 Blah blah blah. Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Did I just say that?

Repetitive narratives like this are tough to read, even for the most committed Christian. This is why I think God tucks hidden jewels among the verbiage—to reward those who recognize the value of reading all God’s Word, not just the Hollywood parts.

In preparation for the census, God gave specific instructions: “You and Aaron shall number them by their armies. And with you there shall be a man from every tribe, each one the head of his father’s house.”

And here’s the gem: God called them by name.

Roll call. Only there were no duplicates. No third Lori or David H-A.

“Then Moses and Aaron took these men who had been mentioned by name, and assembled the congregation . . .” (Numbers 1: 17-18).

If you’re feeling obscure today, I hope this verse encourages you, because it means God knows your name, too. Even better, he’s written your name on the palms of his hands as an eternal declaration of his love for you. And Lori R. And David H-A. And me, the third Lori.

So the next time you feel passed over, marginalized, or invisible, speak this little secret to your heart: God knows my name.

 “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands” (Isa. 49:16).


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1 comment:

  1. Lori, Great post! In school (especially junior high/senior high) I was one of three girls named Kim. It could get interesting if we were all in the same English class, for example. Now at my church, I once again find myself with a "popular" first name. Yes, there are times that I feel quite marginalized, invisible, looked over, forgotten. Thank you for this reminder that God knows me and knows my name!