When the soloist began to sing during our Sunday service, the congregation gave him full, hushed attention. His mellow bass-baritone voice brought them the soul-touching words of an old song by Gordon Jensen. The song’s title expresses a truth that grows more precious the older we become: “He’s as Close as the Mention of His Name.”
We’ve all experienced times of separation from our loved ones. A child marries and moves far away. Parents are separated from us because of career or health. A child goes off to school in another state or country. True, we have texting and Skype. But we are here and they are there. And then there is the separation of death.
But as believers in Christ, we have His promise that we are never alone. Though we may feel alone, He hasn’t gone anywhere. He’s right here, right now, always and forever. When He left this earth, He told His followers, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matt. 28:20). He also promised us, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Heb. 13:5).
The silent plea, the whispered mention of His name, even the very thought of Him brings us solace and reassurance. “He’s as close as the mention of His name.”
Jesus, thank You that You are near. I need You.
Jesus never abandons or forgets His own.
Having spoken of His imminent betrayal and death (John 13:18–38), Jesus now assures His disciples of His presence and love with the promise of the Holy Spirit (John 14–16). He comforts them by saying their grief will “turn to joy” (v. 20), comparing their emotions to those of a woman giving birth (v. 21)—the very baby that causes the pain also causes the joy. “Now is your time of grief,” Jesus tells His disciples, “but I will see you again and you will rejoice” (v. 22). We have “hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).