Whose am I?
“Moses spent forty years in the king's palace thinking that he was somebody; then he lived forty years in the wilderness finding out that without God he was a nobody; finally he spent forty more years discovering how a nobody with God can be a somebody.” Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899)
But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘But I will be with you...'
Who am I?
Few questions are more fundamental than this one. The way we answer this question influences everything we think and do. At the burning bush, this was the question burning in Moses's soul. Am I an Egyptian or a Hebrew? Am I a murderer or a saint? Am I a slave or a liberator? Who am I? If only someone could help me understand my true identity!
Look closely at two important factors relating to Moses's question and the answer he received:
1. Notice who Moses asked
Many who pose this question ask it while standing in front of a mirror looking at themselves. Not Moses. He had the wisdom to ask the only One who could ultimately help him with the answer: his creator and his God.
2. Notice how God answered
God did not respond in terms of philosophy, biology, anthropology, psychology, sociology, or genetics. No, God answered the question with a response that was profoundly simple and simply profound: "I will be with you." In other words, "You will know yourself, Moses, when you know Me." The real question is not Who am I? but Whose am I?
Dietrich Bonhoeffer also struggled with this question of identity. Awaiting execution in a Nazi concentration camp, he gave expression to the conflict in his soul in a moving poem entitled "Who Am I?"
Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell's confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a squire from his country house.
Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As though it were mine to command.
Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
Like one accustomed to win.
Am I really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat...
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!
Like Moses, Bonhoeffer asked God to help him discover his true identity. Like Moses, Bonhoeffer found himself when he found God.
Maybe today you are wondering who you are. Could I make a suggestion? Stop asking Who am I? and start asking Whose am I? The answer to the second question will automatically provide an answer to the first!
Originally published in Face to Face by Stan Key, Francis Asbury Press, 2019
Pray this week:
Heavenly Father, Without You, I am an insecure nobody. But belonging to You, I am Your loved child! Help me to live out who You say I am.
What do you depend on to define who you are?
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