This article was submitted by Guest Author, Amber Grady-Fuller
On my knees, while sloppy tears slid freely down my cheeks, I began to beg for the Lord's mercy. “Comfort me, oh Lord”, I’d pray repeatedly before collapsing into a puddle of sobbing tears. So tenderly the words “I am” would whisper back across the darkness of my bedroom easing the ache of my heart. For a brief moment, these two words had the power to still the raging waves of grief and ease what felt like never ending sorrow. For months, I’d hear these same words in sermons, they would jump off the pages of the Bible or be echoed in casual conversation.
When I was begging for mercy in a profoundly private tear-filled prayer, the response from the Lord was a tender reminder. He never once suggested that I needed to earn His answer, instead He said “I am” the answer. When everything within me honestly needed to know that God hadn’t abandoned me, He said “I am”. When I would cry out to Him for assurance, I was comforted by “I am”. There was never any indication that I would eventually be mature enough to bear the pain I was experiencing, and there was no sense that I needed to earn His compassions in any way. Instead, God was reminding me that He already was all that I needed, and He would be enough for anything I had yet to face.
As this particularly difficult season of my life continued to unfold into a much longer season of heartache, I continued to sense the words “I am” echoed in response to my prayers.
A number of months later, I was at a conference and the speaker was talking about being a vessel and the importance of making a commitment to the Lord to go when He leads us to go. The speaker was encouraging us to pray the prayer “Here I am, Lord send me.”
As worship music played softly in the background, people all around me were moved by the power of this prayer. I watched them pray with hands raised and tear-filled eyes whispering “Here I am Lord, send me”, and it was clear they meant every word of this prayer. I, too, was feeling the depth behind this prayer, but the words I found myself saying were “Here Jesus, send me”. In that moment, I recognized that something deeply profound about my understanding of the meaning behind the words “I am” had changed. "I Am" is a name for my Healer, my Comforter, my Savior my God. “I Am” is something more than a phrase, “I Am” is God.
Instead of the prayer being something that I intended to help God become more aware of the state of my heartfelt willingness to respond to His lead, here became a physical location. Here in that same prayer could be a cry in the homeless alley way “Here (in this alley way), Jesus send me" or it might be a cry in the midst of church "Here (in this church), send me".
Using “I Am” as a name for God literally shifted the focus of this prayer from asking God to send me somewhere of His choosing at a future time and place to a present moment realization of right here and now. “Here, I Am send me”, instantly this prayer became more of an agreement for that direct moment in time. I was praying something like “Lord, I'm seeing the pain around me, I'm feeling the heartache and I know that someone right here needs to be reminded of your love for them, I’ll go remind them”. The prayer I was whispering amongst many other believers became a volunteer statement of active response instead of a plea that God help me become or be something of service for Him that I was not yet reaching.
No longer was I waiting to be healed from my pain before an assignment to go out and be something for God could come. Now I was trembling with the words of a simple prayer with a thousand other believers that I was here in all my broken messiness and I recognized God as the almighty “I Am”. I was not reminding God that I came with a willing heart, but instead I was beginning to recognize that the darkness surrounding me right where I stood was the mission field. I’d stopped asking God to send me out there somewhere to minister to others at some future point in time. I no longer was crying out for God to choose a something that I could do when I’d finally earned it. My prayer was now a statement that I was simply surrendering everything I had to do all that God wanted of me in that specific moment. The same prayer changed from a future someday, to a right here and now response just because I finally recognized “I am” as God.
To this day when I hear these words, my heart skips a beat because I know that I am is indeed the great I Am.