I work in Cubicle Land, a place as indistinguishable from every other corporate maze as those cookie cutter homes of the suburban '50s. It seems the only thing that distinguishes one person from another is his personal ringtone.
I wonder what would happen if characters from the classic children's stories had a reunion. How would you tell the families apart? You have Rabbit, Mr. Rabbit, Brer Rabbit, Peter Rabbit, and Eddie Rabbitt. Our Advent calendar features Mr. Mouse, Mrs. Mouse, Pastor Mouse, etc. How nondescript! What if we were named Mr. Human, Mrs. Human, Human, Jr., Joe Human, Mary Human, and Dr. Human?
Identity is important to us. One fear that hangs on the coattails of technology is identity theft. Criminals can steal our personal information and impersonate us for evil ends. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery until it becomes the sincerest form of forgery. Having one's identity stolen is a deep invasion of privacy; it can make one feel very small and vulnerable. We can feel the same when we ponder the vast number of people in our company, most of whom we don't know, and the billions of people in the world that don't know us. One ad for an ID theft protection company shouts, "It's MY identity! No one is going to take it!" It's easy to feel threatened.
Thankfully, there is One Who can be trusted to safeguard our identity and add value to our life. As I visit local churches, I am struck by the number of believers in different communities. The hundreds of people I encounter are scattered throughout their neighborhoods like salt on popcorn. I don't know them, the world doesn't recognize them by their faces, but it's comforting to know they are out there and we're not alone. They come in different genders, colors, occupations, educational and economic brackets, sizes, shapes, outfits, cars, and denominations, but they are all one in Christ. There is One Who knows they are there and is watching over them.
Each of us is unique, with distinctive features and lives: "Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Psalm 139:16). We are all equal before God: "There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28). God knows and values every detail of our life: "And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matthew 10:30, 31). In heaven and beyond, we will maintain individual identities: "I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it" (Revelation 2:17).
We may blend into the vast sea of humanity like threads in a sweater but God sees us as the individuals He made us to be. To the nondescript, unnamed, outcast thief on the cross, Jesus, in throes of unimaginable agony, said, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). We can say with Job, "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold" (Job 23:10).
God knew us, knows us, and will know us in intimate detail. "He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels" (Revelation 3:5). Our identity is safe with God!