(This blog is from a Salt & Grace friend and contributor)
Today, and even more so in light of recent global events, it is easy to have a lot of questions about God:
- “Is God even real?”
- “Where is God while all these terrible things are happening?”
- “Why is He allowing this to happen?”
- “Who is God?”
To help understand this further, a great starting point is looking at who God says that He is.
The answer is profound. In short, His answer is… I AM.
Selah…Stop and think about that for a minute, reflect on who God is.
THE GREAT I AM
We see the first reference of God referring to himself as the “I Am” in Exodus 3:13-14.
“Then Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers (ancestors) has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I Am Who I Am”; and He said, “You shall say this to the Israelites, ‘I Am has sent me to you.’”
Hmm, helpful right? On first impressions, not really.
But when we look a bit further, we get a deeper insight into what this actually means.
Philosophically, God is first of all saying He exists. He always has, and He always will. Secondly, He is saying that creation is defined by Him. Without I AM, nothing is; all things are intrinsically linked to Him.
If we look throughout the bible at where God is referred to as I AM, we can build a picture of what this means for us today.
- “…your shield” (Genesis 15:1)
- “…the good Shepard” (John 10:11)
- “…the bread of life” (John 6:35)
- “…the light of the world” (John 8:12)
- “…the vine [to which we are his fruit bearing branches]” (John15:1)
- “…the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6)
- “…the resurrection” (John 11:25)
- “…the alpha [beginning] and omega [ending]” (Revelation 10:11)
And one more for good measure in dark days: “I AM, WITH YOU” (Matthew 28:20; Isaiah 41:10)
I AM RESTORER
Although we can know this, it is easy to become distracted and lose sight of this truth in times of fear. For example, the beginning of 2020 in Australia saw masses of our country ravaged as a result of the bushfires; people lost their lives, their loved ones, their homes, their businesses…
Globally we are now collectively experiencing the Coronavirus pandemic with hundreds of thousands of people succumbing to a virus that we didn’t even know existed a matter of months ago. Financial markets are collapsing, communities are going into isolation, supply routes are being blockaded, people are losing work…
Top this widespread uncertainty and calamity with mass hysteria and panic buying because people are afraid that they won’t be able to feed and provide their families.
As I was driving along a familiar landscape recently, I was reminded of who God is – Creator, Restorer and Author Of Peace. That same road, only 6-weeks earlier, was a vastly different sight. The air was filled with a cloud of smoke from nearby bushfires. The land around me was brown and dead, the impact of no rain in months. It was eery; there was a tangible uneasiness as roads were closed and cars and trucks were stopped on the sides of the roads waiting for further news and direction.
Fast forward to now and this same road is flourishing. There is new growth and greenery, the dams have been filled with rainwater and the land is refreshed and restored.
GOD’S PLANS ARE TO WORK ALL THINGS FOR GOOD…
In Ecclesiastes Solomon speaks about God’s plans – plans that turn bad things that are happening now into good things in the future (in His timing); plans that work to see His purpose come pass. The verse states that as humans we have this need to know what the future is going to look like. This becomes even more prominent in times like the one we are living in, times of significant adversity, change and uncertainty. In God’s perspective, the future is not necessarily for us to know.
“He has made everything beautiful and appropriate in His time. He has also planted eternity [a sense of divine purpose] in the human heart [a mysterious longing which nothing under the sun can satisfy, except God] – yet man cannot find out (comprehend, grasp) what God has done (His overall plan) from beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
So what does that mean for us?
It means that in the first instance, our role is to understand who God is. As we become more certain of His character, our faith is strengthened. From faith [knowing who God is] we are assured that what He has said is truth, and that He will deliver on His promises. And we can rest in the truth that God does not bring calamity, but He works ALL THINGS FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE HIM (Romans 8:28) and will bring us out of calamity.
We can take comfort that even though we experience tragedy, hardship, fearful times and loss, His plans are greater and they are for our good, and He will see His plans come to pass.