"If you know who you are, you will know what to do." – Dr. Hendrik Kraemer
Are you struggling with unsolvable problems? Do you feel lost? If so, I suggest the approach that my four-year-old son took when he got lost in Storybook Gardens. He couldn't find us, so he meandered through the grounds. He knew that he didn't belong with the Three Piggies, or in Mother Hubbard's shoe, or on Humpty Dumpty's wall. He knew that he didn't belong in any of those stories — but in a different story. He knew who he was, so he knew what to do. He went to the ticket booth and gave his name. Soon, we heard announced over the public-address system, "Would the parents of Jonathan Eaton come to the office?" Our lost son was found.
When the Second World War broke out, the Gestapo was dominating Holland, forcing Dutch Jews into concentration camps. A group of Christian Dutchmen approached Dr. Hendrik Kraemer, a visiting missionary.
- They said to him, "Dr. Kraemer, what shall we do? Our neighbors are dying. We don't know what is going to become of us as a nation. Please, please, if you can, tell us what to do. We have got to do something, and we have got to do it now."
And Hendrik Kraemer said to them, "I am not going to tell you what to do, but I will tell you who you are. And if you know who you are, then you will know what to do." He opened his Bible to 1 Peter [2:9] and began to read:
"You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, and a people claimed by God as his own, to proclaim the triumphs of him who has called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light."
Dr. Kraemer closed his Bible. "Do you know who you are?" he asked. "Then you'll know what to do." Thanking him, the group left his house. That night, they formed the Dutch Resistance.
– If You Know Who You Are, You Will Know What To Do: Living With Integrity – by Ronald J. Greer
Effective solutions can come by remembering who we are. That means asking the right questions, as Albert Einstein's discovered:
- If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask. For, once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.
That's refreshing advice for us who get tunnel vision over problems. It's okay to step back and take time to ask big questions about who we are in God's grand story of redemption and what that means for us. God delights in such honest soul-searching questions. He'll help us:
Matthew 7:7 – Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. (NIV)
When we know who we are, what story we belong in, we'll know what to do. We may discover that the problem isn't so big after all — because we know what matters more.
Prayer: Lord, we can become so obsessed over troubling matters that we tend to forget who we are. Redirect our attention to the story that You have set us in through salvation, that our eyes will be opened to the right choices. Amen.