“You have searched me Lord, and you know me.” Psalm 139:1
This week I had an adventure in identity theft. Tuesday night my phone stopped working. Every number I dialed resulted in a message telling me I could complete my call with a credit card! When I got home, my husband and I checked out the Verizon outage map, and sure enough, there was a big outage marked on the east coast. My husband’s phone did work, but we thought it might be due to his having a newer phone. Neither of our kids’ phones worked; they got the same message I did.
The next morning my phone was still out, so I went online to contact customer service. ImGine my surprise to discover that according to Verizon I had walked into an Apple Store in Staten Island and purchased three new iPhones as upgrades on my account! My son, my daughter and I were all eligible for upgrades, and someone had used that to get new phones and have our phone service transferred to those phones!
We were able to restore our service and turn off the new phones, but I was left wondering how someone had impersonated me so successfully. Surely, the store would have asked for a driver’s license, a password, some unique identifier? Didn’t they know it wasn’t me? Couldn’t they tell?
Psalm 139 reminds us that God knows each of us individually and intimately. God knows our inner frame (verse 15), God knows our thoughts before we articulate them (verses 2-4). There is no place where we can hide from God, for God knows us completely. No way would God allow someone else to present the self as me; God knows me too well to fall for any imitation or impersonation.
On the one hand, that can be frightening. In human relationships we sometimes put on a front in order to be liked. But the good news is that God loves us for who u iquely are. Because God’s love is faithful and true, we don’t need to hide behind a mask. We don’t need to expend energy trying to put up a false front. God accepts us and loved us just as we are. Oh, God may want to see us grow and improve to become more fully who we were intended to be, but God’s love is sure. O passwords needed, no photo ID required. Just our presence before the Lord in prayer, worship and service.
Prayer: Loving God, how wonderful it is for me to know your love. Even when I am feeling unlovable and unworthy, I can still count on your loving presence in my life. Help me today to feel the warm embrace of your love, and to live my life in an attempt to be worthy of that gracious love. For I ask it through Christ, my Lord. Amen.