“I know Jesus knows my name.”

Several weeks before she went to be with the Lord, my mother-in-law had a conversation with her daughter, my sweet Jana. The conversation surrounded the option of additional chemotherapy to combat the cancer that would, a surprisingly short time later, end her life. Even by that time, there was evidence of the rapid spread of the disease. And in evaluating the choice, my mother-in-law chose not to go forward with the chemo for what would, in the end, amount to at best a few extra weeks and undoubtedly much pain.

But that wasn’t the only reason. And it’s this other part of the reason that, I think, will remain with us for as long as we live.

“I know when I meet Jesus He will know my name.”

That’s what she said. And I have reviewed the statement countless times in the subsequent weeks, not only from the perspective of faith, but also from the sheer wonder of the truth of it all.

For there are so many people in the world whose names I know. I know the names of NFL quarterbacks, famous actors, chefs, presidents, dictators, and internet celebrities. So many names. And yet none of them – not one – knows mine.

I play out the scenario in mind of what a thing it would be to sit somewhere like the Oval Office and to shake hands with the President of the United States. But then consider how that experience would change if suddenly that same person actually knew your name, instead of the other way around. And this is but a shadow of the reality of the gospel.

“I know when I meet Jesus He will know my name.”

That makes your breath catch in your chest. That no mere president, no mere dictator, no mere celebrity, no mere twitter sensation, but the King of the Cosmos knows. Your. Name. Right now.

My mother-in-law? She was many things. She was a proud mother. She was a loving sister. She was a faithful church member. But whatever else might be said about her, it must also come along with the truth that she loved Jesus with all her heart. But even more importantly, she knew that she was known and loved by Him. And it makes my eyes fill with tears, even as I write this, that there was a day not long ago when a woman of whom very few people knew, for she was no celebrity or woman of great renown, was welcomed by name by the very Son of God.

There was no assistant that has to remind him of whom he’s talking to. There was no cheat sheet to review prior to their introduction. There was no nametag to avoid any awkward pauses. Just the genuine interaction from one who knows another deeply and fully.

So it was with her, and so shall it be with us.

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