I Am

Nicole Smith

Nicole Smith

Contributor, River City Church.

Over these next few installments, I’d love to give you a picture of the I Am- the God who was and is and is to come. I’m sure, like me, you’ve experienced the HOW of God our Father showing up to meet us were we’re at, and He’s been merciful in showing amazingly specific things about His character. I’d like to dive into some of the ways we see this in Scripture and how we can apply that to our lives in every situation.

I am certainly not saying that God is a cosmic vending machine where we can pick and choose which version we get. God is omniscient (all knowing), omnipresent (everywhere at all times), and omnipotent (all powerful), but He is also merciful, kind, and the embodiment of Love- true love that cares for and convicts us.

As we journey together, may you see with fresh eyes the many ways our Lord knows our struggles, feels our pain, and will walk alongside us as we learn to trust Him in new and deeper ways.

Do you remember the situation or time in your life when you first truly realized that God is the I Am? When did it first hit you that He knows, sees, understands, and sympathizes with us in any circumstance?

For me, it was during one of the hardest journeys I’d experienced thus far. It was a few days before my birthday, and the last in a series of ultrasounds had shown that who was, until then, our newest baby, had completely disappeared. I immediately knew that sweet little one was with Jesus, but my heart still held a glimmer of hope that my untrained eyes were deceiving me. Sadly, there was no evidence that I was or even had been pregnant, let alone that there was anything to mourn. But my mind knew. And mourning was inevitable.

Miscarriage is a death of so many things – the loss of hopes, dreams, first-times, a son or daughter, a sister or brother, a lifetime of what-ifs…it’s the loss of all of that, and so much more. All those realities hit me at once as I laid in the darkness of that exam room. This precious gift from the Lord had been with me only a few weeks, yet the loss felt insurmountable at times.

The most amazing thing happened as I cried out to the Lord, asking Him for understanding and for the ability to trust Him, even when it felt like I was drowning. He was incredibly gracious in giving me the gift of Himself in that moment – the I Am. To His sons and daughters, He is the personal I Am. In my situation, sitting on a bed in Nowheresville, USA, He was the I Am acquainted with the heartache you’re experiencing. As I sat, tears flowing down my face, the vision I got was one of God grieving mightily over His Son.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke all detail the darkness that fell over the land from the third to the sixth hour as Jesus hung on the cross. Matthew’s account even mentions “The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life” (27:51-52). I’m not a theologian, but I’ve often wondered if the darkness and earthquake were mentioned because of the grief the Father experienced. Grief is so heavy, and holds such rawness, sometimes it seems even creation mourns alongside us. Yes, the Father had the plan of redemption planned out from eternity past. Yes, this plan caused immense grief to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:39-46). Yes, it was heart wrenching to walk through. But God. His plan was greater. It always is.

As I sat on our bed later that day, and walked hazily through the following weeks, I truly felt the Lord carrying me along. It has been the most special time I’ve experienced with my Savior. The beautiful thing is that I’d go through it all again just to feel that intimacy with my Creator again.

Grief never truly ends on this side of eternity – and it won’t until the glorious day mentioned in Revelation 21: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Even in the midst of the grief we experience in our mortal bodies, we have HOPE. Our hope rests in Jesus’ resurrection, and that one day, we’ll also be resurrected.

The Sunday after all this happened, the sermon was focused on Romans 5:3-4: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” Never before had Scripture felt so alive to me. It was then that I truly understood what it was to rejoice in suffering, because greater gifts come from walking through pain. We are refined in fiery trials and made to look more like Christ. The heartache we endure allows us to rely more fully on the Holy Spirit to work in and through us. Sanctification is never pleasant and often painful, but it is necessary if we want to mature in our walk with the Lord.

Take time this week to lay your pain, hurt, or suffering at the feet of Jesus. Ask Him to use your trial for a greater purpose, and invite the Holy Spirit to use a difficult time as a springboard for a deeper and more intimate walk with your Savior. It hurts, friend, but it’s worth it.

Share this post