by Ken Rolheiser
Becoming like the God Who Is, Who Was and Who Will Be

A policeman pulled Murphy over and approached the car. “Please identify yourself,” the officer said. Murphy looked in the mirror and replied, “Yes, officer. It’s definitely me!”

“God created us in His image, and ever since we’ve been returning the favor by creating Him in our image.” (Voltaire). This may sound almost irreverent, but we can relate to something in God’s identity.

“God said to Moses, ‘I AM who I AM.’ And God said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14). Reflecting on this passage Kevin De Young posed the question: Who is God? What is His name? 

These are the very questions that Moses wanted answered. “What shall I say to them when they ask Who is God? What is his name?” God answered, “ ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.”

The translation of I Am here is in the imperfect tense and creates some flexibility. It could mean “I am”, “I was” or “I will be”. Thus, the people would understand Moses as saying that this is their God who was with them in the past, is with them now and will be with them in the future.

I am reminded of the joke where Moses protests his call by the Lord and says, “The people will not listen to me. I am not a great and powerful force.” God replies, “But I am.”

The bible begins with, “God created the heavens and the earth.” And “God’s Spirit hovered over the waters,” meaning there was a time when matter did not exist. There was never a time when God did not exist. And that God is with us, as he was with Moses and the Israelites.

In The God Who is There Francis Schaeffer describes this God who is with us. “I am who I am: ‘I am the God who sees and hears, who knows and remembers, who cares and loves. I am the God who has a plan.”

To make our part in this plan of God more exciting and to give us more enthusiasm to follow this God who Is, who Was and who Will Be, let me share a little Hebrew grammar. There is “yada”, which means “to know” – like “yada-yada-yada.”

Then there is the verbal root “hayah” which means “to be” – think of it as “hi-ya!”, like when you are doing karate chops. You are alive! You exist! Now we have a battle cry to execute our plans. I Know! Hi-ya!

Now how do we act or become like Jesus in God’s plan? At the last supper God gave us this directive: “Love one another as I have loved you.” This can be applied simply to our daily lives.
A hungry mother was observed slowly eating her brunch one-handed so that she could gently rock her baby back to sleep. Parents are full of such sacrifices. This comes as naturally as interrupted sleep, changing financial priorities or welcoming an unexpected child.

St. Monica, mother of St. Augustine, prayed constantly for her son’s conversion. A bishop of the Church told her, “It cannot be that the son of these tears should be lost.”

“If we pray, we will believe; If we believe, we will love; If we love, we will serve.” (St Teresa of India)

(596 words).