“I Know Him by Name”

Katie is well into her seventies, and I’ve been taking care of her for about 20 years, including the years she fussed at God about her husband’s suffering and death.

One day Katie said to me, “Dr. Morris, you don’t know this, but for all these years I have prayed for you several times a week. Sometimes I pray for you three times a day.”

Just hearing that made me sit back in my chair.

Katie continued, “Last week I closed my eyes and right in front of me was Jesus himself! I told him I was praying for you, and do you know what Jesus said to me?”

I was still taken aback by the fact that Katie sincerely prays for me and the Church Health Center so often, but what she said next was astonishing.

“When I told Jesus I was praying for you,” Katie said, “he said to me, ‘I know him by name.'”

The thought of Jesus knowing me by name is powerful. Surely that is how we all want to be known by God, but to hear this from someone to whom I have tried to offer care over the years struck me as profound.

The words of Jesus in John 10 echo in my mind. This chapter is known as the Good Shepherd chapter because of the imagery Jesus uses to connect himself to his followers.

Jesus said, “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice (10:3–4).

Some of those listening to Jesus that day did not act in a way demonstrating they understood Jesus’ message. Peter, Thomas and Judas didn’t always get it right.

Still, Katie’s encouragement made me want to live a life where Jesus knows me by name and I hear his voice.

I left Katie with refills on her routine medications and an order to check her blood levels. It seemed a weak exchange for the gift she had given me.


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