Answer the most basic of all questions, one that will set the pattern for your life, your beliefs, your actions, and your choices. Answer one simple question and your inner fighting and turmoil is put to rest. Answer this tiny little question so that the path set before you will come into focus. Just a single question: Who am I?
Today you hear all sorts of individual answers to this question. Whether it is identity found in sexual orientation, or identity in a cause, identity in a culture, or identity in a vocation you search the ends of the earth to discover what makes you whole. Try a path, or maybe two, and assess if it is an accurate display of your inner person that hides inside. Crafting your own personal identity, unique and special, created from the yearnings of your heart and soul. Piecing together a person, a life, a support system that reflects the answer you give to this question: Who am I?
But your frantic search for identity commits a fatal flaw from the beginning. You look within and ponder a shallow wisdom inside yourself assuming this is where the truth of your identity rests. You turn in to your heart, soul, and mind calling on your uninformed knowledge of who you really are. Did you ignite your own heart to beat with life? Did you create the breath that moves past your lips? Just because you are able to hear quiet thoughts in your head, are you the author of the words that cradled you before you were ever born? You were wonderfully made by Another, and He already knows the answer to your question: Who am I?
The Creator of Heaven and Earth gives your answer to every question of identity. Moses asked such a question to God Almighty when presented with an impossible path. Just a simple shepherd was overcome, recreated by the outside voice of his God. While Moses thought he knew his true identity, wandering after sheep, God still spoke to him who He really was. God told him that there was an insane road set before him, standing up to the Pharaoh of Egypt for the sake of God’s people. “But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” (Ex 3:11) But it’s not the incredible request from God that may seem so familiar, but it is how Moses responds. He looks deep inside at the imperfect confusion that plagues his life, beliefs, actions, and choices. He reflects in his heart and mind, doubting, wondering, constructing his identity. He asks the question: Who am I?
But the Creator of life and breath does not wait for Moses to identify with worthiness. The Almighty God does not look inside the heart of Moses to make sure he understands who he really is. No, when Moses shrinks back to contemplate the confusion of his identity, God boldly gives Moses His word to answer this question. “Who am I?” Moses wonders. God says, “I am with you”.
Directing his identity outside of himself, God tells Moses who he really is. This is not simply a description of what will happen in the future, that God will be around to help him out. The imperfect force of the Hebrew verb “to be” speaks of a God who is already with Moses. It is this imperfect form, a continual reality, when God reveals His own name, “I AM” in the next couple of verses. It is the answer to a search for personal identity. Moses is not a weak and unworthy shepherd, although his scarred heart tells him so. Moses is not a powerless misfit, although his experience shows this to be true. Moses asks “who am I”, and God captured him in the identity of the Wonderful “I AM”. This is the truth of who Moses is.
God’s answer is the same today as it was thousands of years ago. The Creator of life and breath does not wait for you to identify with worthiness. The Almighty God does not look inside of you to make sure you understand who He really is. No, when you shrink back to contemplate confusion of your identity, God boldly gives you His Word to answer this question. “Who am I?” you wonder. God says, “I am with you”.
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). (Mat 1:23)
God has not left you alone searching for identity. He sent His only begotten Son, called Immanuel, which literally means God with us. With us, walking on the earth. With us, crucified as a result of our sin. With us, risen to new life reconciled to the Father. With us, free from sin death and the devil. Directing our identity outside of ourselves, God tells us who we really are. This not just a description of what our future might look like, having the power of Jesus on our side. Immanuel, God with us, is who you are right now. With us, drowned in a crucifixion and raised to new life. With us, present in body and blood for forgiveness and inclusion. With us, flooding our ears with undeserved mercy and comfort. This is the reality of your identity: God is with you.
“And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:20) I AM, ἐγὼ εἰμι, with you, Jesus says. This is who you are. No matter how you feel. No matter where you’ve been. No matter how much you know about yourself or your God. This is the identity He has already declared for you. Who are you? God is with you, right now.