Three God Statements

One Sunday afternoon, not quite knowing what to do with myself for the brief span that was left to me between the day’s scheduled events, I thought I might sit in silence. A Lenten study on spiritual discipline suggested that we should do this regularly, but I never seem able to find the time. Sitting quietly on my couch, my mind began to whirl with the things I had to do, the responsibilities I had forsaken, the things I had left undone, the people I had disappointed. It is no wonder that I try to keep myself busy enough to forget these things. But yet I sat and tried to listen.

While my mind was wandering, I considered one of my favorite phrases (ironic, given my typical state of mind): “Be still and know that I am God.” In particular I love that we are told that to recognize the presence of God requires us to “Be Still.” This suggests to me that there might have been type-A personalities back in the days when there was little more to do than to herd sheep; but it also suggests that frenetic activity for some of us may be a kind of avoidance. The simplicity of “Be Still” is deceptive: as I continue to learn, true stillness is not easy. This appeal — this exhortation — has become for me a powerful message: a reminder that there is much more to life than worldly accomplishment and busy-ness. Then what about the rest of the command, “Know that I am God”? What does it mean to know that God is God? Does it mean to feel the presence of God at all times? to perceive God in all things? to recognize that there are forces beyond our awareness or control at work in our lives? I can’t say that I know yet.

This got me to thinking (again) about Who, or What, is God? When Moses asked a similar question of the burning bush, the response was simply “I Am Who I Am.” As a child, I never thought this answer offered any clarification or explanation. Anybody could have responded with “I Am,” and we might have thought it very profound. But as I get older, I begin to see that this may be the only answer that makes any sense. Maybe God was making a proclamation, providing a distinction between the God of Israel and all of the other non-existent “gods” of the time: our God is. Or maybe God was making a statement truly beyond our comprehension. If God is the ultimate Presence of the universe, Creation is not an entity outside of God or next to God. Without God existence itself is impossible. To make any qualifying statement about God is limiting, and so God is identified completely and uniquely with the words “I Am.” In times of doubt, “I Am” may not seem to provide sufficient credentials. Yet the fact remains that the universe exists: somehow it came into being; it has a measurable beginning. For the incomprehensible vastness of space and the intricate and complex chain of events which wrought our very existence, “I Am” may be the simplest, most elegant explanation.

In my thinking that Sunday afternoon, I wondered if there might be anything else I could consider, a third statement by or about God to round out the package, as the sermon maxim goes “three points and a poem.” No sooner had I thought this to myself than the single word “Love” came to mind. By itself it can be both a command as in “Love the Lord God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself,” or it can be a statement about the nature of God, describing our Lord and Creator as in God is Love: the One who caused us to be; the One who forgives us without question; the One who rescues us in spite of our own doubt and limited understanding; the One who came to us in human form and taught us and loved us and died for us.

In physics class I learned that gravity is the weakest of all the known forces of nature. We routinely defy gravity whenever we launch a rocket into space or even climb a staircase. But because it acts over infinite distances, because it is not polar and can’t be canceled by opposing forces, because it is woven into the very fabric of matter, gravity may one day bring an end to the universe as we know it, eventually conquering all of the other “stronger” forces. I like to think of Love in a similar way: Love may appear to suffer small defeats in the face of virulent hatred, prejudice, or greed; but Love is pervasive, contagious, enduring. Love is woven into the essence of our being; Love will not be canceled by opposing forces; and Love will one day conquer and remake the universe since by Love was all Creation once made.

I think I spent a very productive half hour that Sunday afternoon, sitting in silence, trying to listen. If nothing else, I now have a tiny litany, or even commands from God, that I can repeat to myself whenever the need arises. When I question or doubt, I will remember that God said “I Am.” Then I will remember that God tells me to “Be Still” so that I can know that God is God. Finally, God tells me to “Love” that I may be part of a new creation.

I Am.
Be Still.

23 Replies to “Three God Statements”

  1. Hi Bret, I was shown your calculator by a friend back around 2005 and since then I have used it and shared it with many others since then, thank you.
    It is awesome to sit and think or work and think or play and think about our awesome God. We should think of Him just as we are to pray to Him “without ceasing” Your calculator is now more important to me than ever since now I work as a Mortgage lender, yours by far is the best. Mortgage lending is what I do and it is not what I am. What I am is a disciple of Christ. In the past I mistakenly found my identity in what I did, now I peacefully find my identity in what I am, a Christian, what I do is live my life to be like Christ. None of us should think that we could possibly think long and hard enough to figure out Grace, Grace is just free, it comes from God whose attributes are described as fruits of the Spirit, Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, Meekness, and Self-Control. It’s just who He is. He is the great I Am! We are totally lost and without hope without Him. It sounds as if you believe? He says that if you believe in your heart and confess with you mouth that Jesus Christ is the Lord then you would be saved. It is good to know you, thanks for making your stuff free.

  2. Bret, I spent 20 years in the mortgage industry and must have found your calculator early on, as I have been using it for years even after exiting the industry. Thank you for your efforts there.

    This many years later I actually read your blog including this beautiful piece. I am unable to explain it’s meaning to me today vs. any other time I could have read it prior, but suffice it to say it is timely. God is amazing, His timing is His own, and it is perfect.

    Thank you for being still and listening on that day years ago and sharing your heart with the world, it made a difference today.

    Best wishes, Marc Renz.

    1. Hi, Marc. Thank you for your kind comments. I am very touched that you found something for yourself in this bit of writing. And it is all about the timing, isn’t it? I’m often amazed myself at how things seem to converge in our lives. There are times when I wonder if it isn’t all just randomness, and then there are moments of particular clarity which, though rare, provide enough light by which to navigate for long stretches.

      Best wishes on your journey.


  3. Finally found a great calculator after many search attemps. Then I’m thinking who is this guy and why should I trust his #’s, actually ran several on schedule to make sure the figures were right. So looking for credentials and saw the blog and stumbled on 3 God Statements… WOW, thank you for boldness, honesty and insight. I was profoundly touched, your words helped me refocus and gain perspective. I pray that others randomly stumble across it and find Jesus and life. Blessings – R

    1. Hi, R. So I’m sure you discovered that I have no credentials. However, I did publish my own derivation of the amortization formula so that people who understand such things might see the decisions I’ve made about how the calculations would be done. That’s the best I can do!

      I am also touched that you found this essay worthwhile. I wrote it some time ago now, but it’s as useful to me today as it was then.

  4. I love your calculator and as a Realtor I have sent many people to your site as I feel it is the easiest to understand. Now today I discovered there really is a Bret Whissel and want to say Thank You but I am not sure today if I am more thankful for the amortization or your writing—-it has been quite some time where I was instantly grabbed and wanted to ready more so Thank You for sharing all your gifts.

  5. Nauyaq and Mary, thank you for your kind comments. I’m always pleased to know that the calculator has been helpful to folks, and I’m delighted that you’ve both found this essay to be of some interest as well.

    Best wishes on each of your journeys!

  6. I was very excited to find your calculator via a google search a few weeks ago. It is the best one out there! I love to use it to figure out the quickest way to pay off our mortgage and be debt free.YES!! I did some further searching and came across this article. You are a left brained computer geek and a right brained thinker, very sensitive to the spiritual realm. I sense your strong faith and desire to search for truth. You truly have a gift for expressing deep thoughts in clear and intelligent ways. Keep them coming. The world needs more truth thinkers like you.

  7. I’ve been using your amortization calculator for several years, and always found it quite handy to have around to demonstrate my point about the benefits of consistent early principal payments in a compounded interest scenario. Thank you for making it available online! By the way, your calculator has been routinely the #1 or #2 hit on a Google search for “amortization” for quite some time now. I’ve done this several times since I first discovered your calculator, and I usually find my way back to it via the same search.

    Today is the first time I’ve gone any further than that. I just found myself wondering about this man who has made such a useful tool available online at what appears to be his own expense. I’m planning on sharing your blog with my friends and family. Thank you for the words of encouragement! I wish you Godspeed in finding the research environment your heart desires!

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