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Hagar: When God Names You

Today He called me Brittany. I have called God many things. Father, Abba when I’m feeling particularly loved. Friend, although that one still makes me uncomfortable. Redeemer, Healer, Provider, Husband…I love that God permits us to give Him names. Like Hagar, when Sarah dismissed her after she had Abraham’s baby. Hagar is walking around in the desert with a young child, scared and angry. She gives the last of her water to her young son, like a loving mother would, and thinks to herself, "it's over." And then God shows up, and opens her eyes so she sees the well of water that had been there the whole time. God saves her and her son and gives them a future full of hope. Hagar in response to this redemption responds: "You are the God who sees me," for she said, "I have now seen the One who sees me" (Genesis 16:13 NIV).

I have given God so many names. Some He deserves and some He does not. Good names, great names, terrible names based in lies. He allows them all, because He is a personal God who is willing to prove me right or wrong. But today, He called me Brittany. Often He has called me child, darling….gentle names. Especially for the season of life I am in. I have needed these names. I have needed the reminder in these names that I am tenderly cared for. But today, He called me Brittany. The significance of this was almost lost on me. My name after all, and for most of the kids in the 80’s, is Brittany (or some other wrong spelling of it). But today was significant because I had been feeling so weak in this season. Brittle, broken, scared. But when someone in authority says your whole name, you straighten up a bit.

My morning devotion had been about Job. How he lost everything but was still assured of his place as a righteous man, and voiced his complaints to God. To which God sternly, but still with love, verbally kicked his butt and put him back into his place. The devotional urged to ask God to speak to you about who He is and who you are to Him. So with brazenness, I did not know I possessed at 5:30 a.m., I blurted out: “God, show me where I am going wrong, tell me who I am, tell me nice things or put me in my place, I don’t care.” And then I braced myself. And then I heard it…"Brittany (pause, pause, pause) I love you." He could have just said I love you. And that would have been nice. But today, He called my name. Of the billions of people He loves, today, he singled me out. The authority in the Voice struck a different cord as well. It wasn’t "child, or darling," as I had come so accustomed to. You call someone by name when you want to get their direct attention, and it’s important.

Our friends make fun of us because everyone in our household gets referred to as “Baby.” Husband, daughter, baby, dogs. Everyone. My little girl often will say, “which one are you talking to.” But when I need her to listen, I call out her name, "McCrae." I’m intentional. And so is God. As I ruminated on His words this morning, my heart knew the answer. “Rise girl. Yes, you are my child and my darling, but you are also my soldier. Brittany, I have given you strength. You don’t need the coddling of yesterday as much today. I am rebuilding you and you have regained some strength. I need you to start to believe that. Brittany needs to start to rise up again.”

So often in a hard season we can’t see our progress. Like Hagar, we don’t see the well in the desert. We are still crying in our hands begging for water. But today, God may be calling your name. Calling out who He sees inside. The woman you truly are. And when He does: Girl, Rise.

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