It is what it is…

“It is what it is.”

That has to be one of the most (over)used phrases or sentences in recent memory.

Think about what it means:

Basically, it means that this is life, and you need to accept it. Right?

“That’s life.”
“Take it or leave it.”
“C’est la vie.”
“It is what it is.”

But as I heard it the other day, I thought of what God said to Moses.

You know the story. God calls Moses to be the instrument through which God brings freedom to His people in bondage. But Moses has excuses. Numerous excuses. He asks God:

“Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13)

Moses isn’t thinking about going to Pharoah here. He’s talking about going to his own people and rallying support, afraid that they’ll laugh him put of town. And God responds:

God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’ ” (v.14)

“I am who I am.” I think often about the meaning of that phrase or sentence. To be honest, it puzzles me. It’s not something that rolls off our tongues. Moses had probably never heard that before, nor would he again. But it would be a sentence that would resonate through his life forever as he walked by faith.

It’s similar to “It is what it is.” But “It is what it is” is almost said in resignation. “I am who I am” is not the same thing. At all.

I just came off an Alaskan cruise with Michael W. Smith and Friends by Inspiration Cruises. It was fabulous, to make an understatement. One of the “friends” was Nicole Nordeman, who has to be one of the most anointed artists I’ve heard recently. She was introduced by Michael as one “with a quiet and gentle spirit.” She was that… and more. You could’ve heard a pin drop and she talked and sang.image

Her most memorable song, for me, was “I Am”. It is the story of growing up and God being with her every step of the way. The choruses of each verse speak of who God was (is) for her along the way.

As a child:

“And When I was weak unable to speak, 
still I could call You by name, 
and I said ‘Elbow healer, Superhero,
 come if You can,’ and You said ‘I am’ ”

As a teenager:

“When I was weak, unable to speak, 
still I could call You by name, 
and I said ‘Heart-ache Healer, Secret-keeper,
 be my Best Friend’ and You said ‘I am.’ ”

As a young woman, growing in adulthood:

“When I am weak, unable to speak, 
still I will call You by name. 
’Oh Shepherd, Savior, Pasture-maker,
 hold on to my hand’, and You say ‘I am.’ ”

As an adult:

“I will be weak, unable to speak, 
still I will call You by name 
’Creator, Maker, Life-sustainer,
 Comforter, Healer, My Redeemer,
 Lord and King, Beginning and
 the End’, ‘I am, yes, I am.’ ”

The song, the lyrics brought the phrase “I am who I am” into clear focus.

He is who you and I need Him to be at any given moment.

Need a healer? He says, “I am.”
Need a friend? He says, “I am.”
Need someone to hold you… to direct you… to protect you? He says, “I am.”

Need a Savior to rescue you?

He says, “I am.”

Hanging on every word…

When I (stupidly) mention to my dog, Bella, that we’re going for a ride, or use the word “go” or “going”, she hangs on every word I say thereafter. She looks expectantly, waiting on the next word I might say that she recognizes. She’s doing it right now, waiting for us to go.image

Our black lab, Sam, was a little different. He would perk up for things he heard that he recognized, but he lived to obey. Retrievers are wired that way. They love to obey their master, and they, too, hang on every word you say.

I wish I would live to obey my Master, Teacher, Father, and Friend! He is working everything out for my own good, whether it feels good or not. He can be trusted with every detail of my life. I just wish I could lie at His feet, hang on every Word, and look as expectantly to Jesus as Bella looks at me. She is obsessed.

I want to be obsessed with Jesus and following Him!

Time is shorter than we think…

Our friend, Bruce

Our friend, Bruce

As I posted yesterday, my friend, Bruce died early yesterday morning. He was buried yesterday, too, in a natural cemetery in Penn Laird. It was a beautiful graveside service on a beautiful day at a beautiful place. He was honored by his family and a large throng of friends.

I didn’t know Bruce as long as virtually everyone else there. I’ve only known him since his illness. He was invited to our men’s group by his friend, Wayne, and he was quickly welcomed with open arms. He shared in that first meeting his diagnosis of stomach cancer and was ready to begin with the treatments. This was nearly two years ago.

In the journey he and his family have been on the past two-plus years, his steadfast faith and resolve were an inspiration to us all. His perspective was always eternal.

A group of us went to see him two weeks ago. He thought his time was short. He looked good when we saw him: good energy, good color to his skin and face, and he was alert and engaging as ever. That was the last time I saw him.

In the past two years, since his diagnosis, relationships became more and more important to Bruce. It seemed as if his marriage relationship drew even closer than before. His relationships with his children were even more important than before and he placed a special emphasis on getting to know his numerous grandchildren. He loved his friends, both the men in his churches (as Pastor Kerry Willis said, one church couldn’t hold Bruce) and those outside the church. Relationships were of the utmost importance to Bruce.

I regret not going to see him at some point in the past two weeks. He knew his time was short. I knew his time was short. Hospice had been called in to help. I just thought he had more time.

I say all this not to make you feel sorry for me, but to remind us all how important relationships are. They were of growing importance to Bruce as his time here grew shorter. They should be of growing importance to us as our days here grow shorter.

You’re still teaching me lessons, Bruce.