Summary: Giving up control of our lives to God who is the only one ultimately capable of settingus on the proper course for living a life of meaning.
Our scripture for today seems to me to stand against
everything that our culture seems to tell us as many other scriptures do as well. There are many ways that people in our culture seek to understand us and we all are searching for something in life that really matters.
Throughout our lives we will all be challenged with the
question of our identity. Each of us has a name which the world knows us by. Some people draw their identity from their career they go through life as a Teacher, a lawyer, a farmer, a pastor Etc.. Others draw their identity from the people that they associate with "They run with the wild bunch, or they are in the church crowd", Whatever. Some draw identity from what they do in their spare time...
woodworking, exercise, couch potatoe, armchair quarterback and this list is about as endless as there are people in the world. In any case, it seems to me that one of the fundamental quests of every human being is that they are seeking to understand who they are and they are seeking to communicate to the entire world who they are once they figure it out for themselves. One of the saddest situations that I have ever been close to occurred while I was working at MacNeal Hospital in Berwyn, Illinois as a chaplain.
During my rounds one evening, I came across a patient who was in a coma and was being kept alive on a respirator after being hit by a car and left for dead. The woman was carrying no identification when she was brought into the emergency room so there was no way that the staff could contact her family. So she was admitted to the intensive care unit essentially
without an identity. "Jane Doe" laid there in that hospital bed and the only people who seemed to care were the ones who were responsible for rendering care to her in this condition. I continued to check up on her and for a period of nearly three days she was there for all intents and purposes without an identity. Finally, the Chicago police department was able to put two and two together when a missing persons report matched the description of the woman and her family then came to the hospital. This story did have a happy ending as she recovered slowly and was able to go home from the hospital with her family. But I remember how moved I was by the fact that there was absolutely no one by this woman’s side to care for her, pray for her, hold her hand, or speak
softly into her ear when she probably needed a connection with her family the most. After her family was located and they began to make regular visits I had the occasion to talk with her husband. He told me of their Christian faith and he told me that he knew all along that she would be found and that even though he was not there by her side during those first few days he was certain that she never felt alone due to
her own faith in Christ. Most of the time when people say these types of things in the midst of a crisis I am tempted to think that they are not really believing what they are saying, but are actually trying to rationalize the reason that these bad things are happening to them. Not so, with this man, I am sure that this fact was a clear reality to him and to his wife as well.
Now, I can’t even remember that woman’s name, I do
remember that they were both of Polish descent. And I
remember them being wonderful people...
Eventually, when all is said and done, what really
matters in the eyes of God? Is it your identity as a wealthy person, or as a person of tremendous influence? Is it your name that will get you into heaven? Is it the opinion of the world that will be the key to heaven for you? Can you ride into heaven on the coat tails of a relative who has a strong faith? The answer to all of these questions is NO. It is not who you are that matters... Rather it is who’s you are that matters. It is who’s play book you are responding to that matters in the end. If you have given your heart to Jesus Christ and have strived to remain close to him, these are the things that will usher you into heaven. The woman in the hospital had no identity for a few days and I can’t even remember her name today, but I do recall her faith. And I do
recall her commitment to Christ which her husband spoke of.