One of the perks of driving a bus part time for a summer camp is being able to go to movies for free and see films that you might not otherwise see. Last Friday, I drove a group to the local cheap seat theater and saw "Kung Fu Panda 2." Since our own children are adults, I probably would not have gone to see this particular movie on my own.
I like it when a popular film or song presents a biblical truth, whether on purpose or not. This was the case in "Kung Fu Panda 2." The main story of the film is the quest of the title character to find out where he came from, all the while saving China from certain destruction. Near the end of the movie, the main character comes back to his adoptive father (who is a goose, in case you haven't seen it). When the goose asks the panda if he found out who he was, the reply is, "I know who I am. I am your son." Since I tend to be somewhat emotional at times, that line caused a catch in my throat. I then thought what a great picture that is of the Christian.
Regardless of the circumstances of the panda's life, he realized that his identity was rooted in the fact that he had been adopted and loved by the goose. Even though he found out the story of how he came to that place, what mattered was the love given him by his father. Those of us who follow Jesus have the same story. No matter where we have been, no matter what stories our lives have told, we have been loved and adopted by the Father. Our backgrounds are as varied as can be, as are the ways we came to faith. What unifies us is that identity as God's children.
As the panda was saving China, he faced terrible odds. After he found out the story of how he had been found by the goose, he was able to triumph. I believe that was the point when he saw his identity bound with the goose, and that gave him the strength he needed. Again, we are the same. When we realize our identity as beloved children of Abba and live in that identity, we can handle the obstacles that come our way. That doesn't mean that we'll be "winners" all the time, but it does mean that no matter what, who we are doesn't change. The fact that we are loved by the Creator of the universe doesn't change. God's good heart for us is the same, whether we are "spiritual" or struggling. We know who we are. We are God's sons and daughters. Don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.