On a recent trip where I was going to be away for nine days, I arrived safe and sound but my luggage did not. It was, however, one of the rare occasions that I'd actually kept the sticky part of my baggage claim, along with my ticket, so the baggage man could look it up.
He came to me shortly and said, “Your bag is here."
“It is?!?” I replied in relieved wonder.
“Yes. It’s right here.”
He was standing next to a bag that was definitely not mine. This one was hard-shelled. Mine is soft. This one had no distinguishing ribbons on the handle. Mine does. Additionally, this one was pink, while mine is black. Let’s just say I recognized it as not mine right away.
"That is definitely not my bag," I told him. He refused to believe me. He took my portion of the claim ticket, held it up to the one on the bag, and lo and behold, they both said, S ELDREDGE. He was adamant that it was indeed my bag, and it took a few minutes for him to understand that the bag had been mistagged.
The only identification on the pink imposter was a name. No address. No phone number. Oh, dear. The mystery search began without much hope. Still, somewhere in the world a person was going to be experiencing the same thing but with my bag. My hope was in the folks at the other end.
My bag was mislabeled. It was mine but had another name on it.
It should have read “Stasi Eldredge.” I have no idea what it did say. All I learned later was that my bag had traveled on to Korea. A few days later, it was returned to me intact.
Have you ever been mislabeled? I have. I am Stasi, but I have been labeled many other things. Things that are contrary to the truth. I bet you have too.
We get labeled all kinds of cruel things. Unwanted. Too much trouble. Disposable. And many, many worse things. All of which can be difficult to combat when in the face of someone—or some spirit—assigning it to us with such surety.
God names us Beloved. Child. Chosen. Seen. Wanted. Sought after. Holy. Dearly loved. And many, many other glorious things that are true. Who are we going to believe? We need to believe our Father. We need to be so rooted in our true names that a mislabeling is spotted as a farce as easily as the pink bag was. Our histories and those who populate it may scream a false identity over us, but only our Father God has the right to tell us who we are—and to whom we belong. We belong to Him. We are His. We are often mismarked, but the Holy Spirit has marked you in the permanent red ink of our Jesus' blood. He has set His seal upon you. Claim it.