The Search Party

The Search Party

The Search Party 150 150 Michael Thompson

In 2012, a woman went missing near Iceland’s Eldgja canyon…not a place you want to be lost alone.

She had been traveling through Iceland with a group of tourists and their tour bus made a stop near the volcanic canyon. After the long ride and the excursion through the rough terrain, she wanted to freshen up.

She left the bus to wash her face and change her clothes. But then, she didn’t return.

When she was reported missing by the bus driver, a search party was hastily organized. Nearly 50 people in vehicles and on foot scoured the area with the coast guard readying a helicopter to join the search.

But about 3 in the morning the search was suddenly called off. It had become clear the woman was actually not missing at all.

Turns out, the female tourist who had gone to spruce up and change clothes had returned to the bus, but the other passengers didn’t recognize her. They only assumed she was missing.

The woman herself didn’t recognize the description of the “missing woman”, so she had anxiously joined the search party. Only later did she discover that she was the missing woman.

The entire time she had been frantically searching for herself!

Losing myself is easy in a world that is constantly defining me by who I know, what I own, when I was born, where I live and how I make my living.

Fumbling through the stuff of the everyday, battling with the mundane realities of making a living and creating a life, dealing with the demands and expectations of life as it is

  • robs me of perspective
  • skews my self-perception and
  • invalidates any sense of purpose I scrape together

A culture of clashing demands and unrealistic expectations constantly assaults the sense of integration and vision so desperately needed to make the days of my life more than sands through the hourglass.

Attending the search party for my true self means I have lost sight of the unique identity God dreamed up when He lovingly formed me in Edna’s womb. I am literally searching for myself because I no longer know what I look like.

In the face of this calculated erasure of identity, I constantly have to affirm that I was carefully formed with all the necessary gifts to complete an intention birthed in the loving heart of my Father.

“For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
How amazing are your thoughts concerning me, God!”
(Psalm 139)

My immersion in God’s love through the person of Jesus blasts me into a reality beyond my comprehension:

I am becoming daily what I already am eternally.

To bring my search party to an end, I embrace three central facts as the ground of my being. These truths whisper to my soul moment-by-moment reminders of who I really am at the core.

Not who I want to be…who I am.

  • I am a being of design. God made me. I am not an accident of fate or a product of chance. I am not advanced pond scum! Neither are you. I am who I am, like I am because the Creator thought the world needed me–faults, failures, frailties and all.
  • I am a child of delight. God loves me. The God whose overarching power and unfathomable wisdom literally hold the molecules of the expanding universe in place has deep, tender affection for me. He is not mad at me…mad about me.
  • I am a person of destiny. God needs me. Such an odd thing to think the God who needs nothing needs me. Not that He is incomplete without me. But there is a role in this drama we call history that He designed and destined me to play.

“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4-7)

Anything less robs my days of significance. I will fall into survival mode and simply try to get by on the scraps of pleasure, adventure or enlightenment I can squeeze out of a life without a bigger story.

Each day that I allow myself to lose touch with who I am designed and destined to be, I also lose connection to the delight of my Father. This inevitably sends me on a scavenger hunt for significance that I already possess in Him.

I want to fully embrace the beautiful understanding that before God created anything, He dreamed me up as part of that long creation narrative. You too!

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Knowing this, I can joyfully RSVP with “regrets” that I won’t be attending my own search party.


Michael Thompson

Michael writes because he can’t help it. It is an obsession toward sanity; a way of making sense of his world. Framing ideas, forging thoughts and then forming them into words is both craft and compulsion for him. Growing up in a tight-knit pastor’s home and then spending 20 years of his professional life in teaching ministries, words have been his cocoon since he was a child. Over the past 14 years he has made his living in the marketplace—the wild world of Wall Street. Converging the contrasting realms of church and commerce has given him a unique perspective. It has also birthed an unquenchable passion: to see life as it is transformed into life as it should be.

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