In the summer of 1988, Dino the dinosaur disappeared. Fred Flintstone left no stone (or pebble) unturned in Bedrock, but he couldn't find his purple pal. Fred did what any desperate dinosaur owner would have done; he took to the airwaves, asking kids across America to help him find Dino. America's young sleuths devoured thousands of boxes of cereal, deciphered the clues inside the boxes, and employed the U.S. Postal Service to deliver their solutions to a disconsolate Fred.

If you missed this news story from 1988, I don't blame you. I almost missed it, too--almost. If it weren't for Padder Dave, I never would have realized there was a crisis in Bedrock. In fact, if it weren't for Padder Dave, I never would have realized that I helped solve the crisis in Bedrock.

Padder Dave was my youth pastor ("Padder" was some teen derivation of "Pastor"), and I got to know him pretty well because he was also my writing coach. In the fall of the year that Dino vanished, I received a letter from Padder Dave instructing me to buy the Friday, December 2, 1988, edition of a national newspaper. In it I discovered the Bedrock news, and I also found my name listed among the kids who helped Fred solve the mystery. Unknown to me, Padder Dave had consumed a box of cereal, decoded the clues, and sent a letter with my name to Fred Flintstone.

Padder Dave specialized in memorable reminders, and not just about fruit-flavored cereal and writing contests. His most significant reminder always came in a simple phrase of four words. He scrawled it just before he signed his name to a letter. He spoke it just after "good-bye" in person. "Remember whose you are," he'd say. He could've said, "Be good," or "Make me proud," or "Don't get in trouble," but he went right to the heart of the matter instead. Remember whose you are.

I recently watched the story of a Holocaust victim who painted her way to survival. A gifted artist, her concentration camp job was to capture on canvas the life (and death) inside the fences. When she finally left the camp, her paintings stayed in the possession of a crumbling Third Reich. While distance and decades separated her from those dark days, her mind, seared by the horror, couldn't forget.

Attempting to bring some kind of closure to awful memories, she began a journey to find and reclaim her pictures. Her search led to a Polish museum, but the curators weren't willing to part with such poignant pieces of their history. The paintings are clearly her workmanship, but she'll have to move heaven and earth to own them again.

God moved heaven and earth to reclaim His workmanship. When He created us, He made us His signature piece. Nothing in all creation was made in His image except man and woman. Then we were lost.

We weren't just victims left in the ashes of someone else's sin. We weren't just trapped by the corruption of those around us. One by one, we've each chosen to disown our Creator. Every one of us is stained with the blood of our own guilt, doomed by our own depravity.

But God the Creator became God the Redeemer. He embarked on the journey to reclaim His prized workmanship, the poignant expression of Himself; and when He found us, He offered the highest imaginable price to buy us back. The blood of His own Son paid for me, and His resurrection broke the grip of death over me. When He paid the ultimate price, He gave me the opportunity to belong to Him forever. My confession of sin and acceptance of His free gift seals my eternal destination. I will be in heaven forever with Him.

I belong to God twice. Revelation 4:11 proclaims His authority in my life because He made me: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being" (emphasis mine). I belong to God because He created me. I am made in His image. Revelation 5:9 echoes His supremacy for another reason: "You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation." I belong to God because He purchased me and recreated me in the image of His Son.

He purchased me to be part of His Son's bride, the church. In Jewish tradition, when a groom's parents selected a bride for their son, they participated in a betrothal with the bride's family. The betrothal was a binding contract that actually made the pair husband and wife, although they did not live together until the wedding ceremony at a later date. Often the groom gave the bride a gold band to wear as a token of his love. It reminded her that she was loved and that he would come claim her for his own soon. The two then separated, and in the time between the betrothal and the wedding, the groom prepared a home for his bride in his father's house, and the bride prepared herself for their lives together.

I belong to the Bridegroom, and to remind me of the reality of His eternal love, I wear a little gold band on my right hand. It helps me remember that the Father chose me for His Son. It keeps fresh in my mind that when I was ten years old, I accepted His offer of betrothal. It says to me that I am deeply loved and longed for by Someone who is eagerly preparing a place just for me, Someone who can't wait to be with me face-to-face forever! I wear it because it helps me remember whose I am.

Belonging to the Bridegroom changes the way I live. I may not have a diamond ring, a wedding date, or a bevy of bridesmaids, but I am loved. When I choose to love in return, it affects my passions, adjusts my perspectives, and dictates my pursuits. Instead of wallowing in my "unweddedness," I choose to love Him. When I long to be cherished by a husband, I choose to love Him. At those difficult times when I want to quit the race, I choose to love Him. I choose to love Him because He loved me first. In the security of that love, I can run with perseverance the race marked out for me. The finish line isn't far away, and just beyond it is a wedding feast that'll be worth the wait.

Remember whose you are.

 

Excerpted with permission from "Living Whole Without a Better Half" by Wendy Widder, copyright © Kregel Publications, 2000.