The power of a name

I have a fear of forgetting people’s names. Really, I have a fear of calling someone the wrong name. So I usually avoid calling someone by their name unless I know them very well, for this reason:

“Well, hi, Beth, how are you today?”

“My name’s not Beth. It’s Rachel.”

I mean, where do you go from here? What do you say?

“Hi . . Rachel. I know the name Beth doesn’t sound like Rachel, and I don’t even know anyone named Beth who reminds me of you, but I do want you to know I remember who you are and I care deeply about our friendship.”

*buzzer sound*

Before Ben and I were ever married, I warned him about my fear of calling him the wrong name. And I have. At least three times. There’s nobody on earth I love more, and I have called my beloved, my soulmate the wrong name. How do I explain that? Thankfully, I’m blessed with an understanding husband.

Recently one of our pastors at church said that many people’s favorite word of all is their name. And many people don’t get to hear their name nearly as often as they long for.

I’m inept with names. But God isn’t. Scripture tells us that God identifies each star with ease (see Psalm 147:4). And if we think He’s forgotten us, we can think again. In a passage about His love for Israel, His chosen people, He tells them that He has their names on His palms. Surely God does the same for His people today.

Imagine God, with a ballpoint pen, writing your name on His palm. Whenever He turns his hand over, He looks down at His palm and sees your name. And He thinks of you.

See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49:16a, NLT)