When I was in the 101st Air Assault Division at Ft. Campbell KY, I went to a school called Air Assault School. At Air Assault School, you learn to identify different types of helicopters, rappel out of helicopters, and hook up loads underneath them so the loads can be carried long distances. You also set up a helicopter landing zone and guide the helicopters in to land in these landing zones.
The first day of the school is called Zero Day. Zero Day starts at 0400 and is the longest day of the school. On this day, you cram into a room at 0345 and wait as the air assault instructors come in and assign you your class roster number. When they call your name, you are to respond “Here Air Assault Sgt.” And proceed to pick up a dog tag that has your roster number on it. You then run out the door—you never walk in air assault school, you always run—to the formation area, shouting, “air assault” every time your left foot hits the ground.
On my Zero Day, I was waiting for my name to be called so that I could get my roster number and get started. They called several names before mine. One by one as these students went out the door they were ambushed by other air assault instructors hollering for them to “get down, and knock ‘em out.” Now, the phrase “get down” in the Army has absolutely nothing to do with dancing, and everything to do with doing pushups. When a group of students went out the door at the same time the instructors would yell, “Hey you!” and whichever student turned around that was the one the instructor was talking to.
Finally, my name was called. I hustled up and got my number, signed the sheet and ran out the door, making sure my left foot was the first foot out the door and making sure I sounded off with a loud and thunderous “air assault” as it hit the ground. As I ran out I heard an instructor holler, “Hey you! Get down!” Now I may not be the sharpest knife in the cupboard, but I know my name, and it’s not “Hey You”, so I kept running. The instructor hollered again, “Hey you! I said get down!” Up ahead of me I could see the formation area where the sixty or so students whose names were called before mine were formed up.
Suddenly behind me I hear the sound of combat boots running on gravel, and hear, “Hey you, you better not be ignoring me!” I figured if I could get into the formation area before he caught me, he would never be able to figure out which one I was and I could skate by without getting dropped. I made it within a few feet of the formation area when I felt a hand on my shoulder and heard a shout in my ear. “Hey you, I am talking to you! Were you ignoring me? Get down and knock ‘em out!” I informed the instructor that I did not realize he was speaking to me, which may or may not have been an entirely true statement. You know that confusion could have been all cleared up, if only the instructor had called me by name.
One of the great-blessed truths of Scripture is that God doesn’t holler, “Hey you, come here”, and hope that someone will answer. He calls us as individuals and He calls us by name. We know the Bible frequently mentions that whosoever will, may come to Jesus Christ. This is a very important part of the call of the Gospel. It doesn’t matter who you share the Gospel with, they are someone that God will redeem if they believe on Jesus. We can confidently share the Gospel with whosoever will knowing that if they respond in faith they will be saved. We can be confident in this because we know that it is God’s desire that everyone would be saved. Since it is God’s desire that everyone be saved, He invites all of us to turn from our sins, turn to Him and receive His mercy and grace. While that is a great and comforting truth of Scripture, there is something better.
But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. Isaiah 43:1 (NKJV)
God calls us by name. You see God deals with us as individuals and not really in a group. So when God calls you to come to Him, He is dealing with you as an individual. One of the most common struggles believers have is about the certainty of their salvation. There can be so many things in life that cause us to wonder whether or not we are truly saved. One way to find assurance of your salvation is to think about the moment you believed and were saved. The conviction you felt was God dealing with you as an individual, calling you by name so that He could redeem you. There is so much assurance in knowing that our salvation wasn’t an emotional reaction to human words but our responding to the call of God on our lives.