Okay, so if you’ve been following my blog for the past couple of months you may notice a theme keep popping up: being called by name. In part 1 of this mini-series, I talked about being called, and in part 2, about names. Well, here we are in part 3 and I’m still caught up on this idea that names are really important.
I went to Passion Conference for the first three days of this new year and one of the things that really struck me was how many people attended. We filled three huge arenas across the Southeast with students, and had more people streaming the conference online. The magnitude of people coming together in agreement to worship with one heart and one mind was staggering. I went with my best friend and her church, which meant I only knew two people out of all those thousands of students. Getting lost would have been so easy! The crowds could get chaotic what with all the going through security, finding seats for everyone, and just trying to stick together. The amount of groups trying to stay together naturally created hustle and bustle that comes along with crowds of that size.
Our group would always plan to stick together through the lines of people, but getting separated from the group would happen naturally if you didn’t purpose to keep an eye on the group leader. Even if you got lost, there was still hope. We always sat in the same area together, so if you lost sight of the leader along the way, you knew to go to the place where you were sure to meet with him again. You could listen for the people in your group to call your name as they searched for you. Whether you intentionally got separated from the group to go off and look at what people were selling at the conference, or unintentionally lost sight of the leader, there was hope that you would be found again.
But with the hope came responsibility. If you became lost, it now depended on you to listen for the voice of your leader calling your name, or to go to the place where you would sit and wait for him to join you.
And right there, in the middle of the chaos and joy of the Passion Conference, it struck me how that parallels to our spiritual life. We are going through life following God, hopefully with other people alongside us, in the confidence that soon we will reach Heaven, a place filled with countless people who are all worshipping God. Sometimes along the way, we get our eyes off of our leader; sometimes we get distracted by what the world is selling us and walk away, but sometimes somebody just bumps into us and we lose sight of Him. Getting our eyes back on God isn’t a hopeless endeavor. We just have to listen for Him calling our name, and sometimes that means going and sitting in the place where He has promised to meet us.
But how often do we get distracted by the things of the world and then think there is no hope for us? How often do we get our eyes off our Father when someone else bumps into us and our focus shifts to them? We blame and fight with others and let our focus go to those who have “bumped into our happy”, as Lysa TerKerust puts it, and then we are so focused on their offense we lose sight of where God was leading us. We may even follow after voices calling names at us, thinking that responding to whatever names we hear will lead us back to the One Who Named Us.
Have you lost sight of God and been responding to the first names you hear? Worthless, unqualified, unloved, rejected, lost, hopeless? That’s not your name! If you respond to and follow the wrong names you’ll go to the wrong place. God is calling you to Himself and He’s calling out to you by name (Is. 43:1)
If you’ve lost sight of God and can’t hear Him calling your name, you can still go to the place where He’s promised to meet you. Get away from the crowds and go to your secret place (Ps. 91:1; 81:7). Make a point to get away from the crowd and chaos and go to meet with God.
He hasn’t left you. If circumstances, people, or things have gotten in the way and you can’t hear God calling your name anymore, there is still hope. Like I said earlier though, that hope comes with responsibility. You’ve got to seek God out, but rest assured, God promises that when you seek Him, you will find Him, when you seek Him with all your heart (Jer. 29:13). He’s not hiding from you!
Isaiah 45:3, “I will give you the treasures of darkness and the hidden riches of the secret place, that you may know that I, the Lord, who calls you by your name, am the God of Israel.”