I looked around, feeling the darkness pressing in — not just in the world but also in my mind and my heart.    

Why does the pain of this life have to be so crippling? I get up, only to be knocked down again. I no longer feel as though I’m running, but I’m limping.   

Why does finding the courage to fight for hope feel like pushing a boulder uphill — anxiously waiting for it to roll back on me?  

Why can’t the ones we love so dearly accept You? 

Why is there an abundance of everything that is wrong? 

Will my grieving heart ever be done?  

I lay down on the floor because there is comfort in being as physically low as my heart feels.  

My prayer is simple but earnest: God, I need you.  

Not only is this world a mess, but I am a mess. Everything is so broken, and so am I.  

Silence hung between us. After all we’ve been through, I’ve learned His Words are worth waiting for.  

As the silence continued, I listened to my breath — acutely aware He was the one supplying it.   

I heard the beating of my heart — humbled, I did nothing and do nothing to keep it beating.  

I smelled the air — knowing each sense we have is a gift — even when you’ve had to smell the smell of death and look at mangled people and things.  

I heard the clock tick as I remembered He knows the year, day, hour, and exact moment I will be called home. And each moment we have, no matter how hard, is a gift.  

A strand of hair fell forward, and I remembered He knows every hair on my head.  

Then He spoke, not in a booming voice but as a Father explaining something to His child.  

My child, I AM.  

He was silent for a few moments longer, and then He expounded for my limited human mind to understand His meaning.  

I AM the one who made this world, and I AM the one still in control.  

I AM the one who is near to the broken heart and crushed in spirit, and I AM the one who heals.  

I AM the one who is your Light and your Salvation. I AM the one who saves to the uttermost.  

I AM the one who conquered death, and I AM the one who will bring you home.  

I AM the one who holds the stars in place and knows them all by name. I AM the one who holds you and this entire world together.  

I AM still the one who turns water into wine.  

I AM still the one who can part the seas, heal the lame, cause the blind to see, and place the lonely in families.  

I AM the one who speaks, and it is done.  

I AM the one who calms the seas.  

I AM the one who says to this mountain, move, and it moves.  

I AM the beginning, and I AM the end.

So, despite the pain, I know it is real. And regardless of this uphill battle, I AM the one who trains your hands for battle. I AM the one who builds your endurance. I AM the one who still hears, I AM the one who still sees, and I AM your very present help in time of need. I AM the one who upholds you with my righteous right hand.  

My child, no matter what you face, and no matter what you need… I AM … and beside me, there is no other.