I am

Jesus had fed the 5000. It was probably more like 15,000 or 20,000 if you counted women and children.

John 6 tells how Jesus came walking to the disciples who were struggling to row across the lake in a storm. Walking, not struggling, against the wind and waves.

When the disciples saw him, they were terrified.

But it was what he said next that really scared them.

“It is I; don’t be afraid.”

It sounds comforting, but I wonder. What Jesus literally said, was, “I am; don’t fear.” In trying to give us smooth sounding English, the translators glossed over the staggering claim Jesus was making about himself.

“I am” was the name God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush. “I am” is how the almighty and eternal God chose to identify himself.

“I am” without beginning and without end.

“I am” means that everything that exists or ever will exist has its beginning in God. All life and truth, energy and power, are derived from “I am.”

We live in a time when people say something is true “if it works for you.” We’re encouraged to “find ourselves.” We insist on defining ourselves based things like feelings, gender, occupation, wealth and more.

If Jesus is the Lord over nature, the one whom wind and waves obey, you have to allow him to be Lord of your life. All of it. You can’t pick and choose the parts of his teaching that you’ll follow and ignore the rest. You can’t tame “I am.” He won’t settle for being your helper.

It turns out there was another miracle within the miracle of Jesus walking on the water. John 6 says that when Jesus got into the boat with the disciples, “immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.” In an instant, they’d cross the remaining miles of lake.

“I am” is our destination.

Spitting Seeds

One of my wife’s favorite memories is of the evening she spent eating watermelon and spitting seeds off our front porch with our two boys. That was 28 years ago, when the boys were 7 and 9.

Our lives in the Air Force were nomadic, moving to the next assignment every couple years as I moved up the career ladder. When you move that often, you’re always in a hurry. You only have so much time to make your mark before you move again. We did our best to “make the most” of each new assignment and turned each move into a travel adventure.

So why would eating watermelon make the list of life memories?

Because every now and then you slow down long enough to take in the miracles in a moment.

There are the miracles of things like light and air and gravity. There’s the way the light reflects off things and enters the eye, which signals the brain, which makes sense of it all. The miracle of taste.

Seed spitting presupposes photosynthesis, the miracle of botanical growth, to say nothing of the miracles of farming, food distribution, and supermarkets.

And who can fathom the miracle of a mother’s love, and two rambunctious boys who began as tiny eggs in their mother’s womb?

And how is it they love each other?

Why does something so “simple” give so much joy?

What, after all, is more miraculous than these things that we call “ordinary?” OK, some things may be more spectacular—a lightning strike, a mountain vista—but more miraculous?

When asked by Moses to state his name for the record, God answered, “I am.” Not, “I will be.”

“I am.”

God is in every moment.

Ann Voskamp, in her book 1000 Gifts, asks, “In Christ, don’t we have everlasting existence?” 

Shouldn’t we live like we actually believe it?

If we’re immortal, and we are, what are we rushing for?