Friday, August 23, 2019

I AM For You

I do not have answers for all the problems of those who read or hear my words. While I’ve experienced sorrow and suffering, I’ve not experienced the heartache or heartbreak that some in my audience have lived through. So why even try to relieve their distress?
            I read a verse in Isaiah with a footnote that put things into perspective. In discussing how God described Himself to Moses as “I AM,” David Wilkerson was quoted as saying: “God asked, ‘What do you need? Deliverance? Then I AM deliverance? I am whatever you need. . . . .’”                  Now that may seem glib, a pat answer. But I believe it’s true. What do you need? Patience to care for a handicapped child? I AM growing that patience within you. Strength to approach a coworker about a problem? I AM filling you with courage. Perseverance to live with a disability? I AM making a way for you day by day. New ideas about what to make for supper? I AM a Creative God Who gives you ideas to jazz up recipes.
            Look at living examples: Joni Eareckson Tada became a quadriplegic when she dove into the Chesapeake Bay and broke her neck at the age of 16. Can you even imagine? She was an active teenager who loved horseback riding and painting! Now she could not balance on a horse or hold a paintbrush. So she learned to paint by holding a brush between her teeth. And she has become one of God’s most faithful servants, ministering around the world as Joni and Friends. Joni found the great I AM to be her strength.
            Look around your church for local examples of how God is faithful to a grieving widow, someone suffering from a terminal illness, someone surviving an accident. You need not look far to find someone whose life has been blessed by the worst of circumstances. They have found I AM to be their strength.
            So if God were to ask you: How can I help you? What would you say? “My husband has been unfaithful, and I can’t forgive Him.” God would say, “I AM forgiveness. On the cross, I asked forgiveness for those who put me there.” Would you say, “I need wisdom to solve this problem”? God would say, “I AM wisdom.”
We think life’s issues are the problem, but actually every issue can draw us closer to the Great I AM. As I search scripture I discover Jesus’ pattern of living. He went out early to be alone and pray. He prayed over food. He prayed over illness. He prayed and prayed and prayed. AM I as prayerful?
            Jesus walked in daily obedience to His Father. Do I? Or do I let the “emotion of the hour” lead me down destructive pathways? Do I cry out to God for help when I feel impatient or angry or helpless? Do I return good for evil? Do I memorize scripture to fight unhealthy emotions?
            I heard on a game show that we touch our cell phones on an average of 2,617 times a day. How often do we touch our Bibles? Do we touch them even once a day?
            “So do not fear, for I AM with you; do not be dismayed, for I AM your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
            We may need to change our way of thinking to achieve victory over a problem. But remember, God says, “I AM there for you.” “I care about you.” “I AM with you—now. In your distress.” Then consider AM I willing to surrender my life to Him and let Him, rather than circumstances, satisfy me?
            Listen to a Christian song and face the hour in the knowledge that your I AM is always in the present tense.

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