"To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:3 NKJV
Does it bother you when people forget your name? Are you offended, or at this holiday season when the song says “There’s no place like home for the holidays.”, are you wondering if there is anyone who wants you around or knows what you are going through? In the chapter just before today’s verse, we are introduced to a blind man who receives a more detailed story than anyone else in John’s gospel (except of course Jesus), but we are never told his name. The disciples asked if he were a sinner and his neighbors just referred to him as the blind beggar. His parents simply confessed him as son, then the Pharisees named him; a sinner. Not one person uttered his name. Maybe he felt invisible, anonymous and rejected. But no matter whether, they knew his name, the most important part of this story is that Jesus did! If we keep reading we find that Jesus came to meet him after he was rejected by others and called him individually to believe and follow. Today, just like that blind man, Jesus has come for you. Jesus wants to spend time with you. If no one else on earth remembers you, this Christmas, remember that Jesus has not forgotten. He is calling you and has come to lead you to come and follow someone who will always remember your name!
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6 ESV
Maybe the hardest part about real prayer is that no one knows about it except God. Jesus told us to be alone with God, but I hate to be alone. Didn’t God say, “It is not good for man to be alone.” But then God reminds me that Adam wasn’t lonely, and he wasn’t ever really alone. In fact, before he sinned, Adam was able to walk in the garden every day with God. But as God watched Adam sleeping, He decided that Adam needed another person to be with Him. So that night, God performed the first surgery and He removed one of Adam’s ribs to form Eve as a helper who was made just for him.
Imagine Adam’s surprise in the morning when he woke up and there she was! Prayer that is alone with God is not lonely because in it we draw closer to God. He wants us to learn that we can be closer to Him than anyone else in the world. He wants to be our most intimate friend. Jesus tells us to spend time alone in our prayer closet so that when we open the door and step out, we can walk with Him all through the day. That special fellowship was made possible by another surgery that God performed. That surgery happened one Friday on the cross. There a Roman soldier thrust His spear into Jesus’ side, and blood and water poured down. In that moment God forgave our sins, then while Jesus slept, God began to fashion for Him a people who would be made just for Him and to be with Him forever.
Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Isaiah 49:16
Have you sometimes felt that God has forgotten where you are or doesn’t understand what you are going through? You are not alone! Lots of people in the Bible felt like that. For example, just what was Adam thinking when he tried to hide from God in the garden? Did he think maybe God didn’t know every nook and cranny of His own creation? Abraham was regularly reminding God not only where he was but of the promise that he would have a son. When Gideon was visited by an angel he had questions as well
,” And Gideon said to him, ‘Please, my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? ‘ ” Judges 6:13
Does that question sound familiar in your own life. Does it seem you would like to say with Martha,
“If you had been here my brother would not have died!” John 11:21
But God has not forgotten us! He knows exactly where we are, what is happening and how we feel. If you are going through deep waters today as you read these words, don’t give up or become bitter. God’s promise to us is that he has engraved us on the palms of His hands. Then if we pause to think we will remember that that engraving was with the nails of the cross.
As they pierced through the soft flesh of the hands of Jesus and His blood spilled over the rough wood. Your name and mine were carved on His palms. He suffered in agony that afternoon till He cried out “My God My God, Why have you forsaken me?” In that moment on Mount Calvary Jesus felt alone and forgotten so that we would never be!