What’s in a Name?

I have to confess that God just totally bumped me.  I never could have seen it coming.  Tonight after church we walked into the bookstore and a boy randomly said, “Pray for Samuel Green*” to everyone he passed by.  I stopped.  I didn’t know him, but I knew that name.  You see, a few years back I bought a new cell phone and foolishly traded in my old cell number for a couple hundred free minutes and a newly reassigned number.  The number that to this day still gets calls from collection agencies trying to reach Samuel C. Green.  The other week I was astonished by the rudeness of the person who wanted to find him.  So that name has been like a splinter that refuses to surface, irritated to the touch.

I questioned them about the man, asking if his middle initial happened to be “C.”  It was indeed.  (They must have been surprised.)  Positive identification.  And I learned that at this moment he’s recovering in the hospital from a double bypass heart surgery.  And that his wife and son love him.  My splinter has a family?  Has connections to MY church?  Good heavens, his picture is even in one of the old directories.  Simply reeling.  Because now I realise that the wood had sprouted and grown a bitter root.  I was angry at this person for littering up the number with bad records and then bailing on it.  I was upset about the inconvenience and never really considered the life behind it.  Sure I prayed for him once in a while, but more because it was the right thing to do than because I cared.  Time for repentance.  Go ahead and get the tweezers, Lord, I promise to hold still.

1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2Wash away all my iniquity    and cleanse me from my sin.  10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,    and renew a steadfast spirit within me”  Psalm 51.

*Name changed, of course.


  1. Ouch. The splinters like this are the ones that seem to work their way in so deep that you have to cut them out, and I am wondering now what splinters in my own life are still festering. Thanks for sharing this–and for giving me some much needed thought.

  2. I love your heart, Kris Gnuse! That was beautifully written, and it really made me stop and make note of the “splinters” in my life. Thank you for sharing! PS: I prayed for “Samuel C. Green”. 🙂

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