Saturday, January 21, 2012

"I Am Who I Am"

 You know that feeling you get when you're so overwhelmed you start crying but in the midst of it you're able to burst into laughter? I had such a moment earlier this afternoon when I set out to accomplish the tasks before me.  I'm in completely new territory with the ministry God has called me into, and as I rise to meet the challenges it often presents, it's not unusual for me to start feeling overwhelmed and burst into tears.  However, in the midst of my mini drama tear shedding scene this afternoon, God pointed out the utter absurdity of my whining and complaining.  It was as if He opened a door into the spirit realm of my life over the last 10 years and I saw how completely precious and God ordained it is that I'm here where I am given where I've been.  In an instant my newbie angst over the daily grind of ministry work was washed into a deep and hearty ocean of laughter mixed with fresh tear drops of joy and gratitude.  I playfully envisioned what it must be like for God to work with me on a daily basis (exasperated slaps to the forehead, eye rolling, shaking of the head from side to side, etc), especially during my more intensive growth seasons, and I imagine at times it gets hysterical.  He is so patient with me, and it's during times like now, when my faith and ministerial abilities are being stretched further than ever before, that I am literally brought to my face in praise and worship.  What an indescribably amazing God we serve, and it was during work today when I was tasked with finding an actual picture of "GOD"  that I really offered deep reflection to the mystery of our Lord and Savior.  "God, what are you?" I whispered softly as I tried to envision what I will actually see on that day when He and I stand Face to face.   As I scanned the pictures that Google offered after typing in "pictures of God" I sat in awe over this amazing God, Who, when asked to identify Himself by Moses, replied with "I Am Who I Am."(Exodus 3:14)

What does that even mean to you as you read it? Anything? Nothing? Or everything? I remember a time ten years ago when my heart was broken and the result was a life plunge into any and everything that could bring me harm.  From sex scandals and binge drinking to drug experimentation and depression I held next to nothing back on my quest to drown the pain in my heart.  The great "I Am" meant nothing to me then because I scarcely gave Him a thought.  Last year, a decade later, a similar heartbreak to that of ten years before wreaked temporary havoc on my mental, spiritual, and emotional equilibrium, but the difference this time is that "I Am" meant everything.  Instead of pouring myself into behaviors of most possible destruction, I have poured myself even more into Him, and the result? Phenomenal.  As I reflect over the tough walk of life in ministry, my new running slot on Team 413, and my upcoming missions trip to Medellin and Bogota in Columbia, I am absolutely floored by the differences between life with the great "I Am" and life without. My heartbreaks of the days without Him left marks of devastation on my entire life, but the heartbreaks of days with Him now inspire perseverance, growth, and tearful joy, so it seems the words I spoke into my beautifully painful circumstances last year - "you will have a great impact on who God is shaping me to become" have rung true (James 1:2-4).  I know what it means to be an Atheist because there was a  time in my life when I claimed this status, but I also know what it means to believe in Him and now that I do, I could never go back. He has captured my heart and soul and I love Him for it, but I would be a fool to ever stop pondering the mysteries of who and what God, the great "I Am" is.  It's in these precious periodic moments of awe and wonder where He reveals Himself to us the most clearly.

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Though man has generated many images of God both before and after He became Flesh, none of these will compare to the moment when we actually leave this life and see Him, but in God's thoughtfulness, He has gifted us with scriptural basis for painting our own mental picture.  The first thing that comes to my own mind is the pillar of smoke by day and fire by night in which God Himself led the Israelites through the desert out of Egypt.  I've tried many times to visualize this description (Exodus 13) but even when I'm able to mentally paint a glorifying picture, it still leaves the mystery of God well in tact.  "But, God, what are You?" my finite mind dares to push, and like Moses, I'm left with "I Am Who I Am," a completely fulfilling and yet utterly appetite wetting response. It seems no amount of painting, coloring, or drawing will ever be enough to capture a clear kodak picture of the great "I Am," so when I grow weary from trying to see Him with my eyes, I rely on what I know about Him in my heart - and when I do that, I see Him everywhere.

He is so mysterious, yet completely unambiguous; distant but close; uncontainable, yet indwelling; incomprehensible, but understandable; enigmatic, but transparent; indescribable, but describable.  He is oxymoronically awesome and utterly fascinating.  He is everything and yet even to those who claim He is nothing - He is still something because they have to acknowledge Him to deny Him.  He is God, He is Jesus, and He is the Holy Spirit.  He is the great "I Am," and because I've lived in ignorance of Him, but now live with Him - I could never again live without Him.  To know Him is to love Him and to love Him is to know Him.  There is nothing else so awe inspiring as God, and when we stop focusing so much on ourselves and more on Him, we begin to see the world in an entirely new light. His light. And it's remarkable.  How do I know of its remarkability?  Because for many years I lived outside of His light and to come into it opens up a whole new level of existing. If you have never asked the God of the universe, the great "I Am" to introduce Himself or explain Himself to you, maybe it's time you do?  I once couldn't fathom or accept His existence either because He simply didn't make sense to my carnal mind, but I guess when I had no other options I finally chose to loosen the grip on what I believed and let go.  It was the most challenging and exhilarating free fall ever.  I've never walked a tougher path, but I've also never known love like His.  Don't live the rest of your life determined not to know Him just because you don't understand Him. Get to know Him and He'll give you the understanding you need.  There is no other fingerprint in a world of seven billion people that matches your own - that's not some cosmic accident; He made you to be the only you that there could ever be, unique and set apart. So, when you ask Him - "God, who and what are you?" and He answers with "I Am Who I Am," remember to just let go of you and you'll find Him.

"You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart." - Jeremiah 29:13

"Exodus 13" image taken from

"God Wants to Talk to You" image taken from

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