life lines ” Easy Street “
By Ian Robinson, Major
I think my first name is pretty easy. There are only three letters, I-A-N, pronounced “ee-yan.” You can’t go far wrong with that, right?
I once had an advisory board member who insisted on calling me “Ee-Yon” no matter how many times I corrected him. People have said “Ain” or the Dutch sounding “Jan,” and I’ve even been called “Ina.” A secretary who used to take messages for me in the PCE (pre-cell phone era) wrote “E.N.” on the slip.
Does anybody know my name?
This introduces an occurrence at this year’s music camp. In several chapel meetings the worship team sang Tommy Walker’s lovely song, “He Knows My Name.” It is a moving worship song and one of my favorites, made all the more poignant because of something that happened a few years ago.
During our time as executive directors of the Peacehaven Nursing Home in Singapore, a man who had been found abandoned on the streets was taken to the mental health hospital and then referred to us for care. He was listed in the health system as “Unknown Unknown.” He lay in a foetal position every day and could not talk or communicate in any way. No one knew his nationality, age, race or language. When we first saw him we knew we couldn’t just call him “Unknown.” The nurses said they called him “Adam Unknown,” so that became his name in our system.
A few months later, worship leader and songwriter Don Moen performed two benefit concerts for Peacehaven (he packed out the 10,000-seat indoor stadium both nights) and we gave him a tour of the nursing home. When we arrived at Adam Unknown’s bed I related his story. Don moved quietly to his bedside, took his hand and prayed over him. Then he began to sing, and his entourage, which included well-known songwriter and musician Lenny LeBlanc, joined in and the room was filled with beautiful harmonious voices singing:
I have a maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hand
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call
As I listened, with tears streaming down my face, I knew that this great song was penetrating the deepest recesses of Adam Unknown’s soul. And as I listened, I prayed that at that moment he would call out to God and his cry would be answered.
Every day our chaplain would go to Adam’s bedside and tell him of Jesus’ love in various languages and dialects. When Adam died the following year, we all knew he went to heaven to be with his Lord and Savior and to enjoy his new body.
Jesus said that God “calls his own sheep by name” (John 10:3). I believe he knew Adam’s name. He knows my name. Does he know yours?
Jesus also said, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:14). And so let me turn the question around. Do you know him? All you need to do is call to him and he will answer. No recrimination. No condemnation. No cost to you. He will simply come into your life and bring you peace, joy and love—everything you have been searching for. He knows your name.