But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” – Exodus 3:11
A lot of us know the story of Moses. A lot of middle schoolers know the story of Moses. But I wonder how often we grasp the gravity of what God did through Moses. The power that lies in this question Moses asked – the same question middle schoolers are asking. The same question I asked myself at my desk this morning.
God – who am I?
Moses defined himself by his past – he was an orphan, he was a murderer, he was a runaway, he was a shepherd. Anyone looking at him would have been like – seriously, that guy? I have never killed someone – the craziness to think of what it must have felt like. I have done a lot of other things – things where I did want to (and even at one time) runaway. Moses separated himself from that – found himself tending sheep in the middle of a desert. And there – in that moment – he met God. All-powerful, all-knowing, Yahweh, before the unqualified, unworthy Moses.
We all have a past – Moses had a past. A past that often gives us to believe there is great power in “Who am I?” But the gravity of this story shifted for me – and many students – a few weeks ago as we examined the power of God’s response. “I AM.” How much do we believe that? How much do we let our failure equate whether or not God can use us? Now – it does not excuse what we have done, it is not a free pass to live in sin. But according to the world’s standards – we will always be faced with a “who am I that I could ever…”
Who am I that I could ever love everyone on my soccer team.
Who am I that I could ever eat lunch with another lunch table.
Who am I that I could ever sit next to that kid on the bus.
Who am I that I could ever follow Jesus.
The beauty is in the response which God gave to Moses…the response which we all have through Jesus Christ. “I AM WHO I AM.” God is greater than any excuse we could make, any failure in our past, any circumstance in our way. Its easy to believe it when life is good – but do we believe God is faithful and is in the habit or renewing and restoring us – even if we feel beyond restoring? Do we model this to our students? When my family is rocky – do I still trust I AM – and let my middle schoolers see this. When things aren’t well at my church – do I still trust I AM – and let the students know. When life really hurts – do I still trust I AM – and do my students see this.
The same promise God gives to Moses – that He will be with him – is the promise Jesus gives us in Matthew 28:20 – “Surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Even when we fail, even when our students fail, even when our families fail – will we still trust that I AM is greater than all?