Everywhere I go . . .
There I Am!
You’ve heard the old saw: Everywhere I go,
there I am!
I was on an airplane and I was tired after a week of meetings. I really
wanted to put on my headphones, turn on some quiet music, open a book
and be left alone for a few hours.
It’s not that I wanted to isolate myself from ministry or people’s
needs, but I was “ministered out” after fifteen-odd meetings over the
course of six days. I desperately needed some “down time,” and one of
the least likely places to find quiet is on a long flight over the
Atlantic or America.
Over the years of traveling, I’ve developed a system to ignore chatty
seat mates, overly inquisitive curiosity seekers who want to know all
about your life, your kids, the dog, your social security number, blood
type and favorite food – you know the type – they just can’t seem to sit
still and be quiet. They somehow think air travel is meant for
developing new and meaningful seven-hour friendships.
So I put my great, big headphones over my ears: Message – I can’t hear
you. I get my eyes into the pages of a book – any book: I don’t see you.
And if those two don’t work (some people see headphones and books merely
as challenges to be overcome), I’ll fall asleep, even if that means
feigning slumber. I will sleep through any monologue at any volume in
order to get a bit of quiet time for rest and recuperation.
Settling into my seat on the New York to Seattle flight I immediately
retreated into headphones and book and thankfully, my seat mate, a
sixty-two year old Madison Avenue banker (now how did I know that?)
opened his own book and was soon absorbed therein. “Ah,” I thought,
“it’s going to be a wonderful, peaceful flight.”
But then my reverie was broken. Two flight attendants asked to speak
with me. They got right to the point: they wanted to know where the
“contentment” they saw on my face had come from. I truly was thinking
the source of any contentment was just being able to rest quietly, but I
soon realized there was more, much more to their query than mere
curiosity. I joined them in the galley and shared with them the peace
and joy that comes from living a life surrendered fully to Jesus. Then
it was time to serve dinner and I returned to my seat, only to find my
good buddy – the sixty-two year old banker – ready to talk. “May I ask
you a question?” he began. Knowing nothing about me, not knowing what I
do, not having heard any of the conversation I’d just had with the
flight attendants, he asked, “How can you KNOW there is a God?”
And for the remainder of the flight, and even as we touched down at
SEATAC and taxied to our gate, we were still talking about the reality
of God, the Creator; the realities of heaven and hell, and of the
Savior, Jesus Christ. As we exited the plane, we exchanged business
cards and promised to continue the conversation later.
As I walked out towards the parking lot for the drive home, something
began to nudge at my mind. It was the story of Moses, caught by the
sight of a bush that burned and was not consumed. Out of the bush came a
voice, identified as “I am.”
When Moses later stood before Pharaoh, demanding the release of Israel,
miracles began to accompany Moses’ words. It wasn’t Moses’ bag of tricks
being played on Pharaoh; it wasn’t Moses’ charming personality (he
didn’t have one), or his extensive resume’ of ministry successes; it was
“I Am” surrounding heaven’s messenger.
God had said to Moses, Come now therefore, and I will send you to
Pharaoh, that you may bring forth my people the children of Israel out
of Egypt. He says to you and me, “Come now therefore and I will send you
to the uttermost parts of the world that you may bring forth my people
out of sin.”
Moses responded as we so often do, “who am I?” And God’s response to
Moses is His response to us: “Certainly I will be with thee. . .”
Jesus said, “Go . . . and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name
of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost . . . and, lo, I am
with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen (Mt. 28:19,20).
People often ask me, “why is it that you always have stories of divine
encounters wherever you go?” You know what it is? It’s “I Am” – and
Everywhere I go, there I AM.”
But when they . . . deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye
shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given
you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the
Holy Ghost (Mark 13:11).