This devotion can be found in To Live with Christ Devotions by Bo Giertz.
Read: Isaiah 43:1–13
I have called you by name, you are Mine. Isaiah 43:1
The Old Testament is as much about us as it is about Christ. When the promises were fulfilled and the purpose God had for Israel’s long history was completed, Christ came to establish a new Israel that includes all people. What God had previously done throughout the centuries was done with consideration for the times of fulfillment. So when Paul spoke about what was written regarding the children of Israel in the desert, he could say with certainty that it was written for our sake, it was recorded for our learning.
As a result, Christians repeatedly come across Bible verses they can apply to themselves as if they came directly to them from God Himself. Today’s verse is one of them. God has called me by name. I am His. Just as God once called Israel and chose them as His people, and just as every Israelite, through circumcision, received an external confirmation of God’s call, so God has called me in Baptism. God had a purpose when He lit the fire in my life. Earthly parents want their children to have someone to care for and love. There’s no big difference with God. He wants us to share in His joy, the joy of existence. And I am one of those He wanted to give this joy to. He could have made me into a butterfly or an earthworm or some other living thing, but He has given me more than temporal life. He has given me the right to be His child and take part in His life that can never end.
But this means that I must be born into this world with all the risks that entails. God realizes the risks. He hasn’t left me alone to handle them myself. He came at the very beginning of my life, before I even knew about it. He said: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are Mine” (Isaiah 43:1). He said it by an action so clearly and so unmistakable that it is recorded in one of the biggest books in the parish office. And behind all the exterior—which shouldn’t be taken lightly—He stood by Himself, the Invisible One, the One who commanded all of this and who once became visible Himself and lived among us as one of us. It is, of course, by Jesus’ command that I was baptized. It was He who said, “You are mine; now I have called you just as I once called Peter, James, and John. Fear not. Whatever you then must go through, I will be with you.”
If You say so, Lord Jesus, then it is so. Then it is not I who tried to choose to follow You, but You who chose me; it is Your desire. It is not my decision, undertaking, conclusion, or choice that it depends on. You are behind all of it. Is this why my thoughts have not been able to let go of You? Is this why You’ve always returned? Is it for this reason there is desire and yearning in my heart? Lord, I am glad that it is so. And now I ask only that You complete Your work in me and let it become as You have wanted it to be from the very beginning.