Saturday, March 19, 2011

Who am I?

Who are you? This was the question asked as I shared about the upcoming worship seminar, Splendor and Holiness. It was a strange question, but an appropriate one. Who am I? It is one I would be asking if someone approached me and said they had something to teach me about this faith that I have known from childhood. It is one I have asked as people have stood before me on stages, behind podiums, and across tables and spoke, they claimed, on behalf of God.

There is something in me that rises up with a challenge anytime I hear someone teach, and one I appreciate in others who dare to consider my words. My faith is sacred and something I guard tenaciously, carefully sifting through all outside influences, checking their references and vetting them thoroughly before allowing their words to settle in my heart and mind.

And so here I was, being pinned like a bug with my own question, a mirror of my own skepticism, and it was most uncomfortable even as I respected the questioner’s reserve. Who am I? Or really, and more precisely the question was, why should I listen to you?

How I wish there was some tidy way of summing this up without sounding like an arrogant twit. If there is I haven’t found it. It sounds pompous to site degrees, and even a bit hypocritical, especially since I am far too aware of the number of buffoons who hold multiple degrees. If you know my story but not my heart, I can come across as a pretty dubious character. If you look at circumstance and cold facts, I am not terribly impressive, and I say this not out of some sense of false modesty but based on some rather bitter facts.

It is painfully funny how unaware we can be of our own flaws, and typically not who I am. I tend to over analyze everything, beginning and ending with myself. So I as I was confronted by this question, one I know intimately, I realized that all this time, for decades now, I have been asking the wrong question. The question is not who am I or who are you. It doesn’t matter. And as much as I hate to admit it, the truth of it reverberates through my heart and soul.

So let me tell you why you should listen to the things I shall offer at the seminar. I am nobody, an absolute nobody who for some crazy reason known only to God, has been given a message about hope and grace. A message that he allowed me to live out, to know intimately, painfully so that I may never forget. I speak not from a place of lofty academic summits, but from those times when the truths I gleaned from books and gathered from the mouths of learned men became a reality. I share not a story about a person who pursued God, but of a God who pursued a person, a divorced mom who had no right to speak in matters moral or ethical. I speak as one who was shown grace and the knowledge of redemption.

The message I bring, if I dare use the word message, has little and everything to do with me. But to say too much of myself is like glorifying a microphone for receiving a voice, for what is more important a bit of metal doing what it was designed to do? Or the one who designs and uses the device for greater purposes? I know I am more than a mere utensil, but with each breath I become more aware of how great he is. This is the message I bring. There is a God who adore us, adores you, and he desires to be known by you. He wants to redeem every wound, every heartache, every miserable experience you have ever known. He wants to transform them from your deepest hurt to your greatest weapon. He created you to know him, and when you know him, worship is the only response to this amazing God.

Who am I am? I am someone who messed up their life beyond all human hope of repair. I was someone who lost everything and could see no way out until he showed up. And we he appeared, when he revealed his love for me, I got lost in the chase and caught up in the pursuit. I fell in love and was loved in a way I had never known.

So why listen to what I have to say? Because the wonders of his love are too great to be contained in one life, one small existence, they must be proclaimed. Because maybe when you see him in my story you will find he was there in the middle of yours all along.

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