The Hawaiian Islands made the news related to the “appearance and disappearance” of islands. One report featured East Hawaii Island. This small, 14-acre island was a haven for the endangered monk seal and a breeding ground for the critically endangered Hawaii green sea turtle. But a recent hurricane swept the island off the map. The island was actually little more than a glorified sand bar, making it particularly susceptible to the wind and waves. As a result, it’s been lost.
Another disappearance of an island took place just off the main island of Hawaii. Back in July it suddenly appeared as the result of a huge lava flow from the Kilauea Volcano eruption. Scientists warned that this island could quickly disappear as a result of relentless wave action – before anyone had a chance to give it a name.
Their words proved prophetic – but not in the way they had foreseen. The new unnamed island “disappeared,” but not from the waves. It disappeared by becoming connected to the mainland. Subsequent lava flows filled in the gap between the little island and the main island, connecting the two. It was lost by becoming part of a much bigger island.
One island was lost by being washed away in a massive storm. Another island was lost by becoming part of the mainland, actually ensuring its survival.
This parallels something Jesus said in the gospels. He gave us this proposition: “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it” (Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35).
When a person fiercely maintains their independence from God they ensure their destruction. They expose themselves to the hurricanes of life with a vulnerability equal to that of a mere sandbar. Finally, they gamble against the future day of God’s wrath wearing nothing but the soiled and filthy rags of their own righteousness. They don’t stand a chance against the approaching storm.
But when a person embraces Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior they ensure their survival. Though some may ridicule such faith as “losing their identity” or “losing themselves,” they actually find their true selves. For we are all created for Jesus Christ. We were made to have Him living inside us, abiding with us, and in constant communion with us. When we embrace Jesus we only “cease to exist” as an independent and frightfully frail island in the face of a destructive storm.
What we so proudly hail as “independence” is nothing more than detachment from the source of life. Detached we are nothing more than a withering branch broken off from the vine. We are a shriveling leaf fallen from the tree. Such independence is death.
But running into the arms of Jesus saves us eternally. When we leave our rags behind and flee into His embrace we discover the unsearchable riches of Christ. We renounce all other allegiances to race, color, and ethnicity and cling to Jesus, in order that we may become part of the Family of God. When we discard our proud independence and accept the yoke of Christ, we experience freedom as never before. Let us lose our lives for Christ’s sake that we may find them.
Dear Lord Jesus, into Your loving arms I flee. I renounce the things of this life and seek to be Yours and Yours alone. You alone know me as I really am, yet You love me unconditionally and relentlessly seek my benefit and wellbeing. I gladly become Your slave that I may experience true freedom and joy. I cling to You that I may be saved eternally. Amen.
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
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