Welcome to a new series here at PA. You Asked will be posted each month and addresses questions or topics you have requested. The first round was sent in through Instagram stories, so make sure we’re friends over there (@penelopra). Otherwise, head to the contact page and email me whenever you’d like!

We were enemies. Errant sheep. Blind and proud.

I don’t know why, but He loved us anyway. He had really already loved us. That choice had been made in the realm of no time. Before the sons of God sang, before the earth had ever budded and the beasts first opened their eyes to the world around, before the terrestrial foundation was ever laid, He chose you and I, in the Beloved.

I often wonder at those ancient, heavenly dialogues. How can it be that in the land of ivory palaces, of gladness and sweetness indescribable, my name was ever upon His lips, my heart cradled in His hand?

There was never a question in His mind. “Lo I come to do Thy will.” Could those be the last words He spoke in that place far beyond the stars before descending into the black, watery womb of a loving mother? It was not unlike that day His own voice had commanded “let there be light!” to shine out of the darkness. It would still be nine months for this Light to dawn. A Light shining into an uncomprehending darkness.

The marvel of it all. God in man, among man, for man. Hated, rejected, murdered, resurrected. To purchase, to rescue, to pardon. Satisfied in His travail, He adopted you and I as His very own.

Many seek to understand who they are in Christ. Some turn to the Enneagram (please, please, please….do not go there), some to self help books, counseling or travel. Can I encourage you to cease wondering who you are and instead wonder on who He is, what He has done?

My identity is not my own. It is Christ in me. Knowing Christ is the apex, the most sublime sense of identification for any true believer in Christ.

Jesus Christ, the beloved, the holy Servant. He is the Good Shepherd. He ever refrains from breaking the bruised reed. His lips drop sweet smelling myrrh, his eyes are still and always filled with compassion. The zeal of his house, I dare say, has never diminished. He gave Himself to the many torrents, knowing that many waters can never quench love.

Who am I in Christ, then? Oh, dear believer. Do you see how knowing Him answers it all? You’re beloved of God and His bondservant. You are a little lamb, lifted upon His strong shoulders. You are mended, corrected and delight in the murmur of His comfortable words. You are an integral part to His body and bride. You are redeemed, justified, a child of God.

You are the tangible face of Christ to an unbelieving, wicked world.

Trials, particularly dirty, Satanic ones, have a habit of shriveling our souls. My eyes were opened fully to this previously penumbral area of Christian suffering over the last few years. There are believers who have been so minimized, mistreated, or maligned by another Christian or group of Christians, the marvel of their inexpressible worth to Christ, the very joy of “Christ in me” is lost to doubt and insecurity.

Maybe it’s because of an “unpardonable” sin you committed. Perhaps it’s actually your nationality, your skin color (please don’t think I’m carried away with today’s cry of everything racism. However, it does happen. I wrote Keep Your Gold because of this very issue.) It could be because you’ve refused to bow to unscriptural demands. You are called rebellious and all sorts of horrible things. Your very character is called into world-wide inspection—that character you enjoyed molding after your own Savior.

Envy, control, pettiness; these are all common catalysts for trials of the darkest sort, for they are spiritual battles, fighting for Christ as my all in all.

The devil may pursue; others’ mouths may be filled with misunderstanding or calumnies.

We find our place, our very souls again, at a site so beautiful our mere humanity aches and quivers with the wonder of it. In the home, drinking in the better part. At the cross, gazing up to that broken body. On the hill looking up and away into the shining clouds.

This same Jesus.

May your identity, and mine as well, be permeated with Christ and Him alone.

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