Written by Fr. Dale Minor - The Reclaim Ministry
I assume that most of us have had an experience like looking for our glasses only to discover them resting on our forehead. Recently I read of a lady who was talking to a friend on her cell phone and was telling her that she was at wits end trying to find her cell phone.
We may be guilty of a similar thing as we struggle with the concept of a living, loving Lord. We can read the scriptures, involve ourselves in Bible studies, search writings from noted authors, etc. and still feel that we are far from God. We may find ourselves asking, “Where are you?” or even, “Who are you, Lord?” And the reason may be that we are looking in all the wrong places. We may be looking far away, while He is very near.
There is a quotation attributed to several authors, from Voltaire to Mark Twain, which says something like, “God made man in His image, and we have been trying to return the favor ever since.” In other words, rather than to embrace the greatness of God, we try to reduce Him to our image. For we can’t envision a God who is larger than ourselves.
Anselm, early 18th century Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote; “God is that, beyond which nothing greater can be conceived.” This basically testifies that if we took the accumulated knowledge of the greatest minds on the earth, and if we could extract their absolute best perception of God, it would still be far short of who He truly is. For God is immensely greater than anything we can conjure up.
We take this even further when we begin to think we know better than God; when we turn away from Him and rely on other authority. St. Paul spoke to this issue in Romans 9:21 as he chastised Israel for their rejection of God’s truth. “Does the potter not have power over the clay?” he asked. This rather echos Isaiah 64:8 “But now O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay and You our potter; and all are the work of Your hand.”
The question of just who God is has been asked from the beginning. In Exodus 3:14 as Moses encountered God in the form of the Burning Bush and was instructed to rescue the enslaved Hebrews in Egypt, Moses asked, “Who shall I say has sent me?” And God responded. “I Am who I Am. Tell the people, I Am has sent me to you.” This is a mysterious statement in itself but is understood to be a revelation of God’s nature; that He is the very unique, eternal, and uncreated God. He is the ultimate truth and is beyond anything we can conceive.
Later, as recorded in John 8:58, Jesus would echo these same words when faced by questions and accusations by those who opposed Him and was asked, “who are you?” He responded, “I Am; before Abraham was, I Am.” This was immediately recognized as a statement in which Jesus identified himself as the Son of God. This, of course raised the ire of his accusers, causing them to plot His end.
Even as the question of “Who God is” persists since ancient times, it need not remain a mystery for us. In the Gospel of John, there are seven statements of Jesus which begin with “I am.” These can be found in chapters 6 through 15 and include familiar words such as, “I am the bread of life.” (Jn, 6:35) “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” (Jn. 14:6) and “I am the true vine.” (Jn. 15:1,5) This last being a statement of the necessity that we stay connected to Jesus if we are to be sustained in life, as a branch will thrive only when connected to the vine.
A search of all these “I Am” statements is encouraged as, if you are feeling a bit estranged from the Lord, or if the circumstances of your life is causing a strain in your faith, we encourage you to listen to the Lord as He speaks to you through His word, through prayer and meditation, and through God’s revelation of Himself in the power of the Holy Spirit. The answer is very near you, even as close as the glasses on your forehead.