Viewpoint: When all is stripped away, Christians’ identity lies in Christ

By Grace Gaddy

Here’s my question:

What happens when the wind changes course?

Most of us will agree that life is unpredictable. Gusts of unexpected circumstances may billow through at any point in time. The weather seems calm for a short moment, only to erupt in turbulence the next.

If a person learns to be comfortable trusting in that which is in this temporary moment – the direction of the wind, the “current” of the waves (pun intended) – then what happens when it changes?

I was swept into a chorus of these thoughts one day during what I thought would be the typical morning devotion. But when I thumbed open my Bible, the Book of Job was staring at me. And for some reason, I couldn’t turn away.

Job, a man who was “perfect and upright” before the Lord, “feared God and eschewed evil.” God, in return, had blessed him exceedingly. In fact, the text notes him to be “the greatest of all the men of the East.” Observably, Job had a perfect life with a high social status and financial prosperity.

But the wind soon changes.

The devil poses a challenge to God. “Does Job fear God for nothing?” – “I mean, with all these blessings, of course he’s going to love you!” (Grace Gaddy translation)

Enter million-dollar question: If Job were stripped of these temporary comforts, how then would he respond?

Or more notably perhaps, how would we?

As the story unfolds, Job’s children die, his possessions are destroyed, those closest to him turn against him, and – on top of what must have been unfathomable overwhelming grief – his body is consumed in blistering boils “from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” (Job 2:7)

But despite such an onslaught of evil, Job emitted a resolution that will forever punctuate the story of man’s interaction with the omnipotent God, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”


God did later restore everything for Job. At that point, it would be tolerable to fold up the story of Job, happy that everything eventually turned out for the better.

But I sensed the urge to dig a little deeper. So I did. I slipped Job’s shoes on for size.

They are not comfortable, to say the least.

Here I am, privileged to attend this university for higher education. I have a wonderful family, friends and loved ones. I can walk, I can talk, I can hear a piano playing. I have clothes to wear, a warm bed to sleep in and delicious food to eat.

But none of these blessings come miles within the greatest of all: the miracle of salvation. I have encountered the love of Almighty God, who died on the cross to wash away sin and give me eternal life through a relationship with himself.

So what if everything else were stripped away?

My family? My friends? My education? What if this physical house I live in – my body – suddenly stopped functioning properly or failed to mold into some society-shaped standard of what is “attractive”?

Well, I took a good long look at myself, and what I saw was unacceptable. “Take it all, Lord,” I would pray. Just not my physical appearance, not my social life, not this little something, this comfortable little security.

My identity raised its head in other things. The hardest part to realize was that I had become comfortable with a life that allowed for “worshipping God” in the peace and comfort of my little routine.

Though I claim to follow Christ, I had to ask myself, “Am I trusting in God, or my own form of a religious structure? Is this who Christ has called me to be?”

Short answer: no.

In order to faithfully follow a faithful God, I must let go – a fearful thought while still holding on – and lose my identity in everything except for him. That takes faith, and that takes trust. But if everything I have is a result of what He has given me, what have I got to lose?


But what have I got to gain? Eternal peace and joy through a life surrendered, handed over to the one who breathed it into my lungs.

And this God who spun the earth and planets into existence – he loves me. And you. And he will take care of us. What more do we need? He satisfies our every longing.

Grace Gaddy is a senior journalism news-editorial major from Palestine and is a reporter for the Lariat.