Years ago, my identity was stolen. I cried when I heard the tape-recorded voice of the man who impersonated me to access my credit card and pensions funds. This stranger claiming to be me stumbled in answering basic questions like date of birth, address, phone number. Yet he was convincing enough to “prove” he was me. For a time, the burden of proof lay with me to prove that I was the real Anne Broyles in order to get my money back.
I was not to talk about the case. I felt vulnerable and alone, let down by the institutions I had assumed would protect me. Eventually, I received remuneration and life returned to normal. However, I could never go back to the time of an uncompromised social security number.
In spite of all the things I felt I could NOT count on, God remained faithful. God didn’t need my social security number, a copy of my signature, or a tape recording of my voice to know who I was.
I once participated in a large-group exercise where members moved around a room, stopping briefly to take another person’s hands and say, “I am .” The only rule: We could not repeat any word. I am . . . creative, female, mother, friend, strong, Christian. The first twenty words came easily, adjectives and nouns I had used countless times to describe myself. But as I met person after person, I had to dig deeper, discovering more about myself. All the words seemed secondary to my core identity: child of God.
The author of First John reminds us, “What marvelous love [God] has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are” (3:1, The Message).
Who am I? A child of God.
Gracious God, help me remember that no matter what happens, I am your beloved child. Amen.
A repeating theme in scripture is our failure to recognize God’s work among us. In Acts, Peter declares that the death of Jesus happened because his fellow Israelites acted in ignorance. The psalmist decries the fact that so many people follow lies, yet God’s blessings for the faithful continue unhindered. John tells his audience to expect that the world will not recognize them as God’s children because the world did not recognize God to begin with. In Luke, Jesus appears to his doubting disciples. He proves the reality of his resurrection by allowing them to touch his body and by eating food in their presence. Only then do they feel certain that they recognize him. In what places in our lives do we not recognize God’s work?
• Read Acts 3:12-19. When have you initially bristled at someone’s remarks only to discover some truth about yourself as you reflected on your strong reaction? What did you learn about yourself?
• Read Psalm 4. How do you daily reinforce the idea that you are “more” rather than “less”?
• Read 1 John 3:1-7. When have you been an “upstander” for love on behalf of another? In what ways did that empower you to take more initiative to love?
• Read Luke 24:36b-48. To what do you look as a revelation of Christ’s presence?
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