Have you heard the Christian song He Knows My Name? My son, Josh, has really brought to my attention our need to be known by name. No matter where he is, he will shout out, "Hi, I'm Josh" to every person he sees. He even says this to family members who know him intimately. Shoot, he's said this to me hundreds of times. He just wants to make absolutely sure that we know who he is. He's not just Gillian's little brother. He's not just Jack's big brother or my son. He is Josh and that singles him out. When he wore his Halloween costume last week, people would comment 'Oh, what a cute monkey.' He would immediately pull the head part back to reveal that it was him. "I'm Josh." He has such a need to be known for who he is, not just who he is related to, not just who he looks like or acts like - he needs people to SEE him, to KNOW him, to know him by NAME so that they won't overlook him. I imagine he developed this because his sister has this striking red, curly hair and is extremely friendly. People ALWAYS see her. She is never missed. He must have felt passed over a few times and by introducing himself again and again, he's insuring that he is noticed. I imagine we are all like this. We might not want the whole world to know our names or even the whole room, but I would bet that we all need at least one person who knows us, who knows our name.
I can promise you, like the song says, that God knows you by name.
There is an organization that I support called Love146. The founders, Rob Morris, Lamont Hiebert, Desirea Rodgers and Caroline Hahm, went to SouthEast Asia in 2002 to see sex trafficking firsthand and brainstorm how to end it. In the brothels, they saw young boys and girls being sold for sex. The children were wearing numbers on them. One of the girls, number 146, still had a fire in her eyes. All the other girls had a look of defeat and a numbness to them, but this girl looked like she still had hope that there was a better life for her. The fact that her oppressors would number the girls, taking away their name, their identity, making it easier for the 'johns' to treat them as if they weren't sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, fellow human beings, disgusts and saddens me. I want desperately for them to know that there is someone out there who wants to know their name. I want to know them by name. I want them to know and remember forever and ever that God loves them and already knows them by name, that He sees each tear that falls. They have that need, and it is being taken from them.
I got very emotional yesterday at church because I remembered a time a few months ago when I was praying for the victims of oppression. I know that I can get blinded to their need by my own life and so I forced myself to imagine my own kids being abused, numbered, forced to do the unthinkable again and again and again. As my heart raced, I knew that if that ever happened, I wouldn't eat, wouldn't sleep, wouldn't breathe until they were rescued. I wouldn't rest, I would use every resource available, I would pray every angel down from heaven to help me find them and bring them out of their oppression. I then thought about how many children there must be without someone like me to rescue them. There are many organizations out there, IJM, Love146, Free the Slaves, Not for Sale just to name a few, that are fighting to end slavery. They are rescuing these men and women, boys and girls from their oppressors and trying to make sure that they never end up in that position again. They are providing loving aftercare to help them recover from the trauma they have been forced to endure, and they are fighting to prosecute those who caused them this trauma so they can never hurt them again. But they are going after "the oppressed," not necessarily 'David,' 'Sadeepan,' 'Jayamma,' and 'Veronica.' Do you see the difference? Do you see the importance of having a name and it being known? That's why when I get mailings from IJM and these other groups, they have real stories of redemption and rescue and healing to stir my heart. They don't always use their real names, in order to protect them, but they're always assigned a name. These people are known by their names. Their rescuers know it, their aftercare counselors know it, their Father in Heaven knows it. They are known for who they are, not just what they can do for you. I love that. They need that.
I don't know all these people by name. But God does. When I pray for them, I ask God to call them to Himself by their names, that they may know Him and be known by Him. They don't have a mommy like me fighting for their rescue, for their safety and freedom. We live in such a broken world. If your heart isn't breaking, you need to check your pulse.