The Sunday after I’d started working as a youth leader at a church and had met several of the young people, I spoke to a teen seated next to her mom. As I greeted the shy girl with a smile, I said her name and asked how she was doing. She lifted her head and her beautiful brown eyes widened. She too smiled and said in a small voice: “You remembered my name.” By simply calling that young girl by name—a girl who may have felt insignificant in a church filled with adults—I began a relationship of trust. She felt seen and valued.
In Isaiah 43, God is using the prophet Isaiah to convey a similar message to the Israelites: they were seen and valued. Even through captivity and time in the wilderness, God saw them and knew them “by name” (v. 1). They were not strangers; they belonged to Him. Even though they may have felt abandoned, they were “precious,” and His “love” was with them (v. 4). And along with the reminder that God knew them by name, He shared all that He would do for them, especially during trying times. When they went through trials, He would be with them (v. 2). They didn’t need to be afraid or worried since God remembered their names.
God knows each of His children’s names—and that’s good news, especially as we pass through the deep, difficult waters in life.