“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?
“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.
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.”