Last month I attended a week-long conference out of town. I called home one evening to check in with my husband. He told me there was a message on our answering machine for me. He wouldn’t relay the message; he said I needed to actually hear it. He hit the playback button.
I heard, “Hello, this is Nancy Davis…,” in a voice that wasn’t mine.
Someone else named Nancy Davis was speaking.
Several weeks earlier I’d ordered a shirt from an online retailer. I received an email notification of its shipment and monitored the tracking online until it showed that it had been delivered to my post office box. I checked my box for several days but it never showed up there.
What I didn’t know at the time was that the package had mistakenly been put in the wrong post office box. The person that received it thought it was something her sister had ordered and shipped to her. She thought that because her sister, who lives in North Carolina, is also named Nancy Davis. Once the sisters were finally able to get together and investigate the mysterious package, they realized it didn’t belong to either one them. So, the North Carolina Nancy Davis set out to find the Nancy Davis with a post office box in Walterboro, South Carolina, which she did. That’s how I, Nancy Davis, came to have a voice mail message from another Nancy Davis.
Neither my first name nor my last name are that uncommon.
As a matter of fact, just today I received a couple of emails that confused me. The subject of the emails was baseball, for which I have no affection for or affiliation with, so I replied to the sender for clarification. Finally, he realized he was sending them to the wrong Nancy. He obviously had more than one Nancy in his address book.
The combination of my first and last name is not so uncommon either. If you google it, you’ll get pages and pages of entries about Nancy Reagan. Her name was Nancy Davis before she married Ronald.
The Nancy Davis that received my shirt by mistake probably looked at it and laughed thinking she’d never wear such a thing. I didn’t have any need to know where the fields were in the upcoming baseball tournament, but there was another Nancy who did. As for Nancy Davis Reagan, well, there aren’t many who could compare with her. We all have the same name but you have to go a little further to tell the difference.
If the North Carolina Nancy Davis, Nancy Davis Reagan, and I were all in the same room and someone yelled out, “Nancy Davis,” none of us would know for sure which one of us they were calling.
The only way I might know for sure they were looking for me is if I recognized the voice that was speaking.
There is a voice that calls our names and knows exactly which one we are. That voice that belongs to the one who created us says, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Can you hear it? Do you recognize it?
In that same chapter of scripture (Isaiah 43), the voice that remembers and calls my name says that for his own sake he will blot out my sins and forget them forever. He remembers my name. He can pick me out from all the other Nancy Davises in the world. He knows me better than anyone else and yet will never remind himself of my sins. Who else can do that? No other name but Jesus.
This was originally published June 26, 2016 on www.walterborolive.com