By Joseph Diop
Copyright © 2017 by Joseph Diop
I was flabbergasted, deeply puzzled, flummoxed, taken aback, stunned, and put off, by my Lord’s strange command. Nevertheless, I had to deal with it, because I was more than sure-as-sure-could-be that He actually said that to me.
While in prayer one day back in 2010, my mind suddenly flashed back to this scene from a Star Trek episode I had seen many years earlier. In the scene, Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock were confronted with this Q-shaped thing calling itself, “The Guardian of Forever.” Then, out of the blue, the Guardian said, “Ask me a question.” God used that flashback to say directly then to me, “Ask Me a question.” That was curious enough in itself, for there is an eternity of endlessly parading questions waiting to be posed to our Maker. But, what was even more stunning than the original command, was the actual question that the Holy Spirit gave me to ask God. The Holy Spirit had performed a kind of Google search of possible questions, and had settled on a question that had been asked by the Apostle Paul, at the very instant of His conversion. It was a question seemingly that an unbelieving heathen or a very ignorant proselyte would pose to the Master: “Who are you, Lord?”
I was incredulous. I was dumbfounded. I was highly insulted. That was how my proud human nature reacted to the idea that I was to pose to the Lord such a rudimentary question. If I may say so in a deliberately self-satirizing and self-deriding fashion, I felt somewhat — just a little; No, honestly, alot — HUMILIATED !!
It was like, “Lord, you want me to ask that simple, elementary, introductory question — ME, Lord? ME, who has known you since childhood? ME — a Spirit-filled Christian, now for at least 40 years? ME — a valiant Christian soldier (Hah!) for all my adulthood? ME — a learned “Man of the Cloth” for over thirty – three — count them: 1, 2, 3… 33 — years now! ME, Lord???”
Well, after I calmed myself down, and quieted myself, and humbled myself, and finally, but reluctantly asked God that question. What God began to show me immediately afterward was what was to become the most eye-opening, illuminating, powerful, and enriching revelation of my entire lifetime. I can only say to you here today, that I am still feasting on the glory of what God showed to me that day that I asked Him that simple, yet most profound of questions.
You see, that is the question of questions. I still remember, as a youth attending Sunday School one Lord’s Day morning, a gripping, puzzling poster the teacher had placed upon the wall. It was of the scene of a beautiful, sandy, beach-side shorescape, with softly rolling waves. The only caption covering the scene was this, “GOD IS…” I thought to myself, “God is what?? God is…??? They didn’t finish their statement. Where’s the rest of the sentence?? Now, how are we to know exactly WHAT God is?”
My youthful mind was going off its rails. But, that puzzling poster never left my mind. What I did not know at the time was that answering that one question was The GOD-GIVEN OCCUPATION of all mankind, for the extent and duration of our sojourn in this world. Hence, the question of all questions is exactly what Paul asked when first confronted with God’s blinding light that fateful day of his conversion, “Who are you, Lord?” Acts 9 :5
This is why the Bible is filled and over-filled with names of God. God has so many named, titles, and designations that they are literally innumerable. God, Lord, Most High, Almighty, Judge, Savior, and King are just a few of his most well known titles. The Way, the Truth, our High Priest, the Author and Finisher of our Faith, our Hope, are some of his best known names of functions too. The Lamb, Lily of the Valley, Bright and Morning Star, Friend that Sticketh Closer than a Brother, My Joy, My Strength, My Counselor, and Prince of Peace are a few of our more beloved designations for him. That’s not to mention Kinsman Redeemer, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Great and Terrible God, Ruler of All Nations, Right Hand, Lord God of Hosts, and Captain of the Hosts of the Lord too are names we revere him by. As well, he is known as the true version of the Vine, the Branch, the Water, the Bread, the Shield, the Fortress, and the Light, to name just a few things. And, we could go on and on and on, add infinitum.
But, now comes ultimately the state of the present revelation that I HAVE BEEN receiving all these years of my sojourn with God, thus far. It is becoming more and more real to me, and more and more apparent, as I go along everyday. Perhaps, the most precious name by which we all know God, is Father (“Dad,” to those who know him best). In that capacity, he’s the One who begat us, placed us here, and who loves and tenderly cares for us every single day. But, God’s formal, legal, and proper name by which he revealed himself to the world, he gave through Moses for the children of Israel. God said, “I AM THAT I AM. That is my name forever… Just tell them, I AM…” (Exodus 3:14).
So, that brings us back to the original question. “WHO are you, Lord?” His formal name, “I AM,” seems to be the original “hanging chad” — the first of all conundrums of life and faith. My answer thus far, after 60 years of life, and innumerable trials, tribulations, and afflictions, is this:
“Lord, You are my father, and my mother, my spouse, and my sister, my brother, and my best friend. You are everyone and everything with whom I have to do — The Giver, The Gift, and The Given. Yes, You are much more than the sum total of all my life, and my loves, and my whole entire support system. For You, by virtue of your Great Name, are very Life Itself. I AM THAT I AM. Hallelujah!!!”
Satisfactorily answering this one question for YOURSELF, brings the fullness of health, soundness, satisfaction, joy, comfort, blessing, and healing to all the injuries and the hurts of our humanity. So, who do you say that ‘God is…’ ???