The annual K-LOVE Fan Awards is all grown up now. However, it began with a simple promise to bring together the biggest names in Christian music for a weekend of music and fun. Early on, Ron and I bought our tickets and eagerly looked forward to seeing and listening to Chris Tomlin, TobyMac, Francesca Battistelli, Jeremy Camp and so many others. As an added bonus we listened to stories of remarkable faith, enjoyed a few musical surprises, and experienced a worship service that moved and inspired us in unexpected ways. There was one specific female artist who completely captured our attention.
All day on that Saturday, four 20’ x 20’ stages sat nestled inconspicuously in the far corners of the humongous and bustling Opryland Hotel exhibit hall. Various singers, brand new to the Christian music scene, rotated on and off as their small audiences of 30 to 40 slowly filled the sparse rows of folding metal chairs.
Ron and I took in all they offered as we anticipated the big Saturday night event and Sunday morning worship. Soon, we needed to sit for a bit, and noticed that the stage was surprisingly empty. So, we grabbed a bag of popcorn and plopped down in a couple of chairs only four feet from the stage so our feet could rest. We decided to stay longer when we noticed a young lady and a slightly older woman standing to the right of the stage. Obviously, the girl was about to perform. The woman brushed the girl’s hair back from her face, placed her hand on her shoulders, then smiled the smile only another mother recognizes. After a mic check or two, the girl seemed ready. She closed her eyes as music floated from her guitar – and she sang. After hearing only a few lines, Ron and I looked wide-eyed at each other and exclaimed, “Wow!” We had never even heard of this girl with the funny last name, but we felt sure we’d eventually hear more of Lauren Daigle.
Sure enough, she went on to release a full-length album containing the hit song “How Can It Be?” Shortly afterward, we went back to that same event and got to meet Lauren. I told her how I’d used that particular song when ministering to some ladies in drug rehab. She said she’d always wanted to do that. I told her she had already ministered to them through her music! She graciously allowed Ron and me to get a picture with her, and we walked away even bigger fans of her music.
If Lauren Daigle and I were in the same room today, I would recognize her, but she would never remember meeting me. She certainly wouldn’t know my name. Yet, if Jesus walked into the room, He would call me by name, throw His arms around me, and tell me how much He loves me. How amazing it is to know that the Creator of the universe knows our names!
Sometimes, I feel like David surely felt when he realized that his family would become a royal dynasty. “Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and prayed, ‘Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?” (2 Samuel 7:18, NLT) Indeed! HOW CAN IT BE that Jesus would “plead my cause, right my wrongs, break my chains, and give His life so I can be free?” How could Jesus choose to give His life for me?
A humbled David, went on to pray, “What more can I say to you? You know what your servant is really like, Sovereign Lord.” (2 Samuel 7:20, NLT) David understood that even though God had seen the secret places of his heart, he was forgiven and blessed.
God knows your name too! He’s seen the secret places of your heart. He even knows the number of hairs on your head and what you’re about to think, feel, and say. He knows everything you’ve ever done, what you’re doing right now, and what you will do after you read this. He goes before you to prepare you for what’s coming. He goes behind you to help you get over your past. He is always with you. When you’re sad, He comes closer. He holds your heart when it’s broken. He longs to fill you with joy. He knows when you get up and when you go to bed. You are constantly on His mind! His thoughts about you cannot be numbered. He knows you through and through and still, He loves you with an everlasting love. (Isaiah 43, Luke 12, Psalm 51, 34, 139 and Jeremiah 31)
I’ve always loved the simple song many of us learned as children, but tend to forget as adults: “Jesus loves me, this I know for the Bible tells me so.” And yet, the older I get and the more mistakes I make, the more I love another version of that song: “Jesus KNOWS me, this I LOVE for the Bible tells me so.”
I can’t imagine Jesus looking at us any differently than Lauren’s mom looked at her. He knows us and what we are capable of. He’s brushed the hair from our eyes and His hands are on our shoulders. He’s smiling like no one else can.
So, let’s go out there and do what He’s gifted us to do!
“I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me, just as my Father knows me and I know the Father. So, I sacrifice my life for the sheep.” (John 14:15, NLT)