When We’re Not Who We Want to Be, God Is

Most days, I’m not who I want to be or need to be. I lack patience with my children. I lack godly perseverance – at least the kind that lasts all the way until bed time. I get frustrated with the world around me – that guy’s driving too slow, that person took my parking spot. (Don’t they know I have two kids in the car with me and no working umbrella???) There’s more air, than chips, in my $3.99 bag of Doritos. And gracious why does rural internet have to be so slooowwww! (Yes, please go right ahead and feel sorry for me.)

Devotional Scripture: Exodus 3:11-22
Key Verse: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14

Not only that, but momma just wants to potty by herself occasionally. Know what I mean? But honestly, if that’s all I have to complain about, life’s pretty good. Yet nine times out of ten, the unexpected rough edges of my day, put me over the edge.

And then the guilt sets in. What is wrong with me? Is a spilled bag of gold fish crackers really that big of a deal? Based on my over the top reaction – it’s apparently life threatening. Who knew?

Basically, I stumble when there’s no reason to stumble. I get overwhelmed when I shouldn’t be overwhelmed. I huff and puff over things that are not huff and puff worthy. I make bumps into mountains, toddler accidents into crimes of serious offense, and my daily agenda the responsibility of everyone I meet – whether they’re related to me or not.

Let’s face it – I’m a mess. Like the apostle Paul, the things I want to do, I don’t do. And the things I don’t want to do, I do. Over and over again, I do them. Though the world wouldn’t label me terrible, I’m not who I want to be.

And the truth is, I never will be. At least not without Jesus. Which is why I love the name God reveals to Moses from the confines of the burning bush. Not only does it proclaim his eternal existence and external independence, but it sets the stage for Jesus to fill every single one of my lack thereof’s. (And yours too.)

With the weight of his new job expanding in his gut, Moses needed to know, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” (v. 13)

In other words, if you’re going to make me do this. I need more. I need assurance. I need truth and substance. Something to hold on to.

To which God replied, “I AM WHO I AM.” “Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you…The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you” (v. 14-15).

His answer was three-fold, giving some Biblical scholars pause. Is his name I AM? Or I AM WHO I AM? Otherwise translated I AM WHAT I AM or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE. Or is it LORD, commonly translated as Yahweh by both Jewish and Christian scholars. Yet in the original Hebrew it was written as YHWH with no vowels because a) they did not use vowels in the original written Hebrew and b) they believed God’s name too holy to speak aloud, so they wrote it in such a way no one could say it.

But I don’t think we need to argue over what name God intended because I think it’s safe to say he’s c) all of the above. He is who He is apart from us, apart from time, apart from circumstances. And he will always be the same. No shifting, no changing, no rearranging with the seasons. Whatever He is, He is.

Specifically, He is the LORD, Yahweh. The personal God of the Hebrews. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Redeemer. The one who faithfully fulfills every promise. “I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites, and land flowing with milk and honey” (v. 17).

Because I AM able. I AM willing. I AM with you. I AM faithful. “Whatever you need Moses, I AM.” My words, not God’s, but I don’t think God could have picked a better name. Moses would face fierce opposition, as God warned in verse 19, but I AM was with him. And when I AM is with you, there is nothing you can’t do

When the days are long and the nights are short, with I AM there is patience. When the ride is rough, there is endurance. When life is upside down, there is perspective. When you’re broken, there is healing. When you’re weak, there is strength. When you’re the widow, there is peace. When you’re the caregiver, there is strength.

When you’re the worn down, tired of saying no, I-didn’t-know-it-would-be-this-hard mommy, there is purpose. When you’re the ragged, there is righteousness. When you’re the disgraceful, there is forgiveness. When you’re the rejected, there is acceptance. When you’re the unloved, there is love.

There is no gap the LORD can’t fill. No barrier he can’t break. No lack thereof he can’t provide. He is all things, to all people, all day because HE is Jesus. “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16).

How do I know? In John 8:58 Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” The great I AM came in the flesh so he could be the I AM of all believers. “I am the bread of life. I am the good shepherd. I am the door. I am the light of the world. I am the way, the truth, and the life. I am the resurrection and the life. I am the true vine.”

“I AM,” said Jesus. And “unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins” (John 8:24b). Declaring also in Revelation 1: 8, “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Jesus is the great I AM and he’s promised to be with us too. As we, like Moses, go and seek to tell the world about a God they’ve not necessarily seen before. And though they’ll be opposition. Though we’ll fumble our way through. Though we’ll mess up. Though we’ll struggle, doing the very things we don’t want to do, I AM is with us.

And in Him we can live godly and upright lives (Phil. 4:13), holding hands with Joy along the way. Befriending Peace. Pulling up a seat next to Hope; in the house of Endurance; on a street named Patience.

So whatever it is you face today or tomorrow or next week, know this, I AM is with you. Filling the gaps of whatever it is you need to do it well and do it holy. Thank you, Jesus. May I look to you every step of the way.

Contemplate and Evaluate:
Is Jesus the great I AM of your life? Do you tend to rely on yourself or Jesus in the day to day of life? What steps can you take to remain in Christ and the power, strength, and endurance he gives?

2 thoughts on “When We’re Not Who We Want to Be, God Is

  1. Stacey, what a wonderful devotion this morning! Thank you. As I struggle with mom guilt leftover from last night’s frustrating homework session, I’m lifted up by your words. Today is a new day & I AM is with me!

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