“Have you ever asked the Lord what He calls you?”
I remember thinking it was a dumb exercise. I have never hear audibly from God. I am doubtful of those who say they have (not that this is right, just honest). So asking God a question in prayer and waiting for an answer seemed like a weird thing to me at the time when my close friend asked me this question.
“You should, and see what He says.”
It was one of those things you do kind of with an eye roll. OK, I’ll do this, but nothing is going to come of it because I have I hard time believing that I won’t just make up the answer in my head. I starting praying random times throughout the day, “Lord…I don’t know how this works, but can you tell me what you call me?” I felt foolish each time.
It was a wake up call to how little my faith actually is. The God of the universe, who created everything, loved humanity despite of its outright rebellion against His Kingship, rescued His people by the violent death of His Heir, and united them to Himself through his defeat of sin and death, in my mind, couldn’t even find a way to communicate with me about my new name. A name that I am promised through Jesus. Or maybe I thought that He had better, bigger things to do. Each time I prayed I had to work through this waterfall of doubt to remember who God is, that He loves me, and that through the Holy Spirit allows me to ask Him things. I oscillated between feeling embarrassed and emboldened.
I also had the feeling in the back of my mind that anything I believe I heard would be made up. I have grown up in church, I know the right answers, I know the scriptures, I know the names we have been given because of Jesus, it might just be me remembering instead of hearing from God. I have also had a lot of bad examples of people saying they have heard God say something that either didn’t happen, wasn’t true, or was just what they wanted to hear. I did not want to be another name on that list of Christians who just made stuff up about God to make myself feel better.
One night, I was laying in my bed and I prayed and listened. I didn’t so much hear the word out loud as I got a sense of it, and it was a simple and quiet, “mine.” I laughed at myself a bit. That doesn’t make any sense. Anyone I have talked to about the names that God has called them, I have never heard that one. I have heard chosen, new, redeemed, righteous, but never “mine”. I went to sleep thinking I had of course I had just made it up.
The next day I began to wonder if that has even been used in scripture by God as a name for His people. I did a word search, and of course dug up a ton of references. He says that Israel will be His people, and He will be their God often. But one reference in-particular stuck out to me. Its Isaiah 43, which is basically a list of all the ways God has made Israel His own. And it begins:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, and you are mine.”
I was a bit surprised that this verse had never stuck out to me before. And that the word I thought I may have heard in fact was in accordance with what God calls His people in scripture. I was a bit floored. Mainly because I had never thought of myself as God’s possession. My idea had always been that God loved me and wanted me to be with Him in heaven, not that He bought me to make me His own, set apart for Him. It can be a scary thought, but it wasn’t to me. It was incredibly freeing. The chapter goes on to say that no one can undo what God has done. His ownership is complete.
This is a struggle for me to believe. I am constantly feeling like my standing before God is up to me, that I need to behave or perform a certain way in order to keep myself on God’s good side. Its a constant battle of thought to remember that He bought me for Himself with Jesus’ blood, that I had no part in that, and that I can’t undo what He has done. I am His.
To remind myself of this truth, I had the verse tattooed on my arm. I had been wanting a tattoo for quite a while, and when I read this passage I immediately wanted it as a permanent reminder of what cannot be undone.
I got it done in September. Sometimes I forget its there (especially in the winter), but every time I see it, I am moved to worship. My identity is in nothing else but that I am called “mine” by God and that no one else can take claim to what is His. And its there, written across my arm, so that I can’t forget.