"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Matthew 10:39
I was just about to head to bed last night after a long day when I suddenly realized I did not know where my purse was. My parents and I had gone out to eat at a restaurant for lunch, which was the last place I remembered having it. In fact, I had asked my mom for her keys when I realized that my small purse wasn't in my large red satchel. Afraid that someone would find the purse enough of a temptation to try to break the car window to steal it, I decided to grab it before someone else did. I remembered putting it down next to me on my side of the booth with my cell phone. That was the last time I could clearly recall seeing it.
Now it was midnight and I felt the surge of adrenaline shoot through my veins in my frantic search for my purse. The thought of a stranger having access to all my credit card accounts, my driver's license with my picture, and my home address made my stomach turn over in fear. My identity was now possibly in the hands of someone who did not care one iota about ruining my credit and making me have to pay for the charges he or she would put on those credit cards. I could hardly think, but soon realized I had to start making phone calls to cancel all the cards. Which cards did I have in my purse? My mind started racing.
An hour later found me towards the end of my list of necessary phone calls, but some credit card companies had closed for the business day even before I had made my distressing discovery. How in the world am I going to sleep tonight? Please Lord, help me! Please protect my name from this stranger that could do so much harm to my good credit rating!
A thought suddenly flashed through my mind: Get up and look on the bedroom desk one more time. Although I was sure I had looked there several times in my search, I walked back into the bedroom. There was my purse sitting in plain view. My eyes had somehow overlooked it in my panic. I cannot express the relief I felt as I held it in my hands knowing that my identity was safe. The fear I felt over my missing purse was from the thought of my lost identity. With no driver's license, I would have nothing on my person to prove to anyone else that I was me, Shawn Lantz. I was a lost person as long as my purse was missing.
Where is our identity? Is it in our house, our car, our material possessions? Is it in a job, a social class, our intellect, or in the size of a bank account? In a moment, all of those things can be stripped away and lost to us forever. Our identity cannot be found in something that has the potential to be here today and gone tomorrow. There is a strange paradox in my life with Christ. I have had to lose my identity to find my identity in His. That surrender of control can be so terrifying at its start, but the irony is that I have never felt more free or alive.
Jesus has given us His name for the asking. We can never go missing because our names are branded on the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16). Unlike me not being able to locate my purse, He can never forget where we are. We are constantly on His mind. His thoughts about each one of His own are more than all the sand on all the beaches of the earth. Although I am a sinner, He always accepts my contrite apology when I don't represent His name as I should. He risks His credit rating with me!
Oh Jesus, let me lose my identity in You because that is where I will truly find it. Thank you that You have chosen to risk Your name on me. Teach me to represent You well.