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"The Great I AM" musical--reflection

Part One: The writing process

Earlier this week marked the one-month anniversary of the opening show of “The Great I AM” musical. It seems like the show was just yesterday—time just flies by! I still stand in awe of what God did through the musical, and how He multiplied our five loaves and two fish. I feel words could not possibly explain the amazing miracles God did in bringing the musical together. All I keep on repeating is, “God did it. God did it.” But my mom encouraged me to take a stab at writing down everything “God did,” so I never, ever forget. And so, with much prayer, I want to share with you what my Jesus taught this little nobody who still cannot fathom why He, the Great I Am, would care so much about bringing me to the knowledge of all He truly is.

The first draft of “The Great I Am” started taking form at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, during the spring of 2020. God began inspiring me with so many amazing songs, and I knew they had something to do with a play about Moses. I started writing the songs down and called the play that was beginning to form “Musical Moses”—because at that point, I didn’t realize yet that God was not wanting me to write a musical focused on the great story of Moses’ life, but a musical focused on who He is and the freedom He brings to those who trust in Him.

While the songs were starting to come together, writing the script felt like I was hitting my head against a brick wall. For the longest time, I was not able to think of a thread that would weave the whole musical together. As I spent hours trying to write, I was left with fragments of scenes that did not go together at all—and bad headaches and a grumpy disposition that came from spending late nights “fighting” to get some sort of theme. Along with struggling to write the script, I found myself succumbing to the thought that writing the musical was just plain pointless. I was sure that even if I did end up finally having a script of some sort, a musical on the life of Moses would be way too big for me to direct like I had with my previous musicals. Writing during the pandemic did not help either. It just felt like normal life was over, and there was no point in hoping the musical I was writing would ever get performed; and if it was never going to get performed, there was no point in writing it. It was a complete waste of time. Overcome with frustration, I lay in my bed one night and said to Jesus, “Jesus, I can’t do this anymore. Writing this musical is too difficult, and I can’t deal with the heartache of it never getting performed and being seen by people!” I had never really heard God speak to me so directly as He did before that night; but almost as soon as I said those words, God replied. It wasn’t an audible voice; I can best describe it as a still, small voice that popped into my brain and made my heart stop for a quick second. Nothing dramatic…just a very simple question: “Rachel, will you write it for me?” It was so gently and tenderly asked that I started to cry. The King of the universe wanted me to write Him a musical. What an honor. I was deeply touched, but also ashamed. Here I was complaining and griping about it being too hard to do something for the One who had died an excruciating death for me. He wasn’t even calling me to be imprisoned and tortured for Him—He was just asking me to write Him a musical. Surely, I could do that. With tears, I said, “Yes, Jesus. I will write it for You, even if it does not ever get performed and no one ever knows about it. This musical is for You.”

I stuck to writing the musical and continued to add to my compilation of fragments. Slowly but surely, God began tying everything together. As I was working on Act 1, one word kept popping into my head… “destiny.” I felt like God was giving me a clue about part of what He wanted Act 1 to focus on, but I had no idea where to go from there. After some time, I began to think that maybe I was imagining things, and the concept of one’s destiny didn’t have anything to do with Act 1—until one day, when I wandered to the bookshelf in my parents’ bedroom and a book I had not read titled “Destiny: Let God Use You Like He Made You” by Tony Evans caught my attention. Curious, I grabbed the book, and as soon as I opened it, it fell open to chapter 12, in which Moses’ life was used by the author as evidence for several points he was making about the concept of our destinies in Christ. My eyes bulged out as I read Evans’ commentary about how God revealed His name as “I AM” to Moses:

“In those two words, God summed up who He was…In that name, God expresses His sufficiency. God told Moses that He is all Moses needs to fulfill His destiny…His name, I AM, covered everything. It covered Moses’s past, his present and his future—just as God covers you.”

I was dumbfounded. In that instant, God had confirmed that Act 1 of the musical needed to be about our destiny in God; and I also realized that this was not going to be a musical just on Moses’ life—it was a musical about the Great I AM, the One whose name covers our past, present and future and has a destiny for each of us to fulfill.

Soon, a rap between teen Moses and his tutor that deals with the concept of destiny (and questions I believe many can relate with about how much God is actually involved in our destinies) came to be. As I continued to read Tony Evans’ book, a particular quote of his stood out to me: “When you discover who He [God] is, you will discover who you are.” Moses couldn’t know his destiny until he first knew who he was, and he could only know who he was when he knew the God who made him. This idea became the theme of Act 1, culminating with a 40-year-old Moses, who had so many thoughts about one’s destiny as a teenager, coming to know the Great I AM and discovering the destiny He had for him. Right before God calls out Moses’ name from the burning bush, Moses is told: “God doesn’t just see all we are, but all we can be. Before our forefather Abraham even had a son to call his own, God called him the ‘father of many nations.’ God does not define us by all the things we’re not, or by our failures and successes. We are defined by the things He will accomplish through us. You may call yourself a failure, but God doesn’t. He is not finished with you. Despite your mistakes, He calls you to a destiny He will enable you to fulfill. He calls your name. Listen, and you will hear Him.”

I continued writing and rewriting (and rewriting and rewriting!) the script past the pandemic and into the school year of 2021-2022. That year was a little challenging. Without going into much detail, there was an individual I did not have the option of distancing myself from who made life tricky to be with. I remember sitting one day eating lunch in my dorm hall’s kitchen feeling small, defenseless, and unseen; and then, the words “El Roi” popped into my head, one of the many names of God. He is El Roi, the God who sees me. Providentially, around the time I was going through this challenging experience, I was trying to think of a meaningful way young Moses could end up learning about his Hebrew origin. In that instant, I knew. In the musical, before Jochebed (Moses’ biological Hebrew mother) leaves him with Pharaoh’s daughter in the Egyptian palace to begin his life as a prince of Egypt, she gives him a necklace with the words “El Roi” carved on its stone pendant and explains to him that it’s her deepest desire for him to come to know the God who knows him, and that the God who sees him for all he truly is will reveal Himself to him, so that Moses can see Him for all He truly is. The necklace plays a large role in young Moses finding out about his identity as a Hebrew. Later, in the wilderness, when a 40-year-old Moses believes that God could never want a fugitive like him who fled from Egypt after he killed an Egyptian slave master, Jethra (Jethro’s wife—I may have taken a little creative license there, haha) references his El Roi necklace to bring up the person who first called God by that name—"a slave girl who ran away from her master and met God…as a fugitive in the wilderness.” Jethra says, “God appeared to Hagar when she was at her lowest. It was there, in the desert, that God revealed Himself to her and unveiled the plan He had for her. God is with us even when we are fugitives in the wilderness. He is the God who sees us. He sees us when we’re running. He sees us when we are at our lowest; and yet, He never leaves us. He looks upon us so we can look at Him and see Him for who He truly is.” Soon after, God appears to Moses through the burning bush, calls him by name, and reveals to him the destiny He has for him. Moses has a personal encounter with the God who sees Him and praises the One who knows him by name. And just like he was comforted by his God, a girl, sitting in her dorm hall’s kitchen feeling unseen, was comforted by El Roi, the God who sees me.

God so divinely inspired Act 2 with songs and a closing message about true freedom. By the time I had finished the entire musical, the writing had been so spread out that I actually genuinely did not know what the thread of the entire musical was. But while vacationing with my family at the beach, I read through the musical and was absolutely shocked and amazed. I had been writing fragments because Jesus had asked me to continue writing…and then WHAM. He had brought the musical together, and I hadn’t even realized it until that point. Stunned, I wrote a synopsis of the musical that shows how God wove together a beautiful, great big thread.

“The musical begins by asking "What is true freedom?" and briefly brings to light some of the notions we have about freedom: "Is it really dependent on the absence of restrictions? Is it the right to be who we think we should be? Or is it the power to be who we were meant to be?" The rest of the play works to answer the question of what freedom truly is. In Act One, two ideas of freedom are presented side by side. The Israelites, held captive in Egypt, lift their voices and pray to God to free them from slavery. Meanwhile, in Pharaoh's palace, Moses (whose life has been miraculously preserved and appears to be living in total freedom) struggles with finding the meaning for his life and questions his destiny and the concept of destiny in general. It seems Moses cannot be truly free until he knows his identity and life's purpose. Ultimately, when through a series of events Moses finds himself in the wilderness, it is then and there that he learns he cannot know his destiny until he knows who is, and he cannot know who he is until he knows the One who made Him. Act One culminates with Yahweh revealing Himself to Moses and giving his life true purpose. The One true God liberates Moses through drawing him to Himself and enabling Moses to come to the knowledge of who He is: He is the Great I AM, the God who is everything we need. This is true freedom; it's not merely being liberated from something, but being liberated to the One who gives us true purpose.

Act Two builds on this truth as The Great I AM continually reveals Himself to the Egyptians, Pharaoh and Israel so that they may come to know Him just as Moses has. When Moses and Aaron first tell Pharaoh to let God's people go, Pharaoh refuses, saying "Who is the Lord that I should obey Him by letting Israel go?" Through a series of plagues that each strategically bring down the many Egyptian deities worshipped by the Egyptians, Yahweh reveals who He is. Yahweh makes a covenant with the people of Israel to not only take them out of captivity in Egypt, but to also take them as His people and be their God. Just as Yahweh liberated Moses to Himself and gave Him true freedom, He is working to liberate Israel to Himself and give them true freedom as well. He is not just concerned about freeing them from Egypt and leaving them on their own after that. He wants to bring them freedom in its truest sense; the kind that comes only through walking in relationship with Him.

Yahweh frees His people, and Moses delivers a brief closing message to the audience. He explains how God led Israel to the Red Sea, and when the Egyptian army pursued them, all they could do in their helpless state was "stand still and see the salvation of the Lord." When they did, God parted the Red Sea and made a way when there was no way. Moses says, "Looking back, I realize that my God was always in the business of making a way when there was no way...there was no way for us to deliver ourselves from Egypt. All we could do was look to Yahweh. All we could do was stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. And when we did, the greatest deliverer in history made a way for our deliverance. He rescued His people from bondage to a new life in Him. We were finally free." The play closes by answering the question posed at the very beginning, "What is true freedom?" by bringing in the truth of the gospel. Held captive by sin, there was no way we could make our way back to God. All we could do was stand still and see the salvation of the Lord. God made a way for us to experience true freedom through His son, Jesus Christ. Jesus became our Passover lamb once and for all, and through His blood, we pass from death to life. As Charles Spurgeon says, “He has divided the Red Sea of God's wrath, lifting up himself upon the cross, a mightier weapon far than Moses' rod; he made the floods of God's wrath retire, that all his chosen might march through.” There is a call for all to receive Jesus as Savior and experience freedom. For those in Christ, there is a call to stand firm in the freedom Christ has given us and to not waste our lives by submitting to the slavery we were freed from. Christ has not just liberated us from sin, but to Himself. We can only live in true freedom when we walk in relationship with our Savior and pursue Him. He gives us victory in every single aspect of our lives. As John Piper says, "God loves us best by giving us the best to enjoy forever, namely Himself, for He is best...He purchases our undeserved and everlasting pleasure, and He becomes for us our all-deserving, everlasting Treasure." The world is no longer our treasure; Christ is. He has freed us through the cross to an identity and destiny found in Him. We are not our own, for we have been bought with a price. Christ gives our lives meaning and empowers us to do what we were made for--to glorify Him with our lives and point others to Him, so they can experience freedom too. The play closes with a finale song that praises the hero of the story, the greatest Deliverer who continues to deliver us today--The Great I AM.”

Part 2: The Performance

I literally felt like God had plopped a musical with an unbelievably powerful message right into my hands. I was so honored to have seen it so beautifully unfold, but I told Him many a time that I felt it would have been a better idea to give such a great musical to a bigshot who could actually do something with it and bring it to life on stage instead of giving it to a nobody. In fact, I got so worked up about it that I told God “I’m not the person who you should have given this musical to! I can’t do anything with it! I can’t understand why you’re so nice!” Looking back, I can’t help but roll my eyes at myself. I should have been thanking God for what He was doing in my life and for what He had been teaching me through the musical, and there I was accusing Him of being too nice.

Anyways, I really didn’t believe the musical was ever going to get performed, and I didn’t have a real passion to do what I could so that could happen. But that all changed one day when we drove past a billboard not far from my home advertising for the “Jesus Christ Superstar” musical that was going to be performed at the Fox Theater April 19, 2022. As soon as I saw that advertisement, my blood began to boil. “Jesus Christ Superstar” is an extremely famous and popular musical, but I have never watched it, and never intend to. Just a few years ago, I had learned just how blasphemous its content is. The musical basically paints Judas as the hero and Jesus as a fame-seeking lunatic who doesn’t know what He’s doing. The musical twists Jesus’ words and denies His deity. puts it this way:

“To summarize the theme of ‘Jesus Christ Superstar,’ Jesus was not divine but was a fascinating and magnetic man of good intentions who let things get out of control. Overwhelmed by His own fame, He desired to return to a simpler, more sincere life, but He couldn’t. Of the disciples, only Judas recognized what was happening. He hated what Jesus had become but still loved Him and wanted to help Him. Jesus saw only one way out of His predicament: to die as a martyr; then, perhaps, some of His good teaching might be remembered.”

This musical has reached heights of fame through dragging Jesus’ name through the mud. Thousands of people watch it, including some so-called Christians. It completely misrepresents Jesus’ character. Though there have been protests against it, one only has to google to find articles and blog entries written by Christians who, though they may claim to not agree with everything, still claim to “enjoy it" and excuse it since it was probably not intended to target the Christian audience. In 1999, the Vatican officially endorsed it, and included a production of it in it’s 2000 Jubilee Year celebrations.

The truth of all Jesus truly is--His character, justice, righteousness and love--needs to be proclaimed. We who are Christians can’t join the world in applauding shows that drag our Savior’s name through mud. We can’t sit on the fence as we watch the spirit of deception blind audiences far and near through subtly making its way into “harmless” shows. We need to stand up and fight. We need to take back in Jesus’ name ground that the enemy has stolen in the field of entertainment.

As soon as I saw that billboard, a fire burned in me for “The Great I AM” musical to be performed. God had given me a musical that boldly proclaimed the truth of all He is. When Jesus’ name was being tarnished in media and entertainment, this musical could not be in hiding. It needed to get out there and point others to the true Jesus. There was no other option. I knew I was a little nobody, but I fancied myself as a David who could use my musical in some way to take down the “Jesus Christ Superstar” giant. Don’t worry, you can think it---it’s hilarious for me to consider myself a modern-day David. But all the same, I had a lot of fun swinging my imaginary slingshot and letting the stone fly every time I passed the gigantic billboard. But late one night, as I was again lying in my bed, God spoke very clearly to me once more in that same still, small voice, this time tinted with what I felt was a little humor: “You’re not David. You’re the stone.” I didn’t completely understand what He meant at the time, but now I understand that The Great I AM, the Son of David, was telling me He was going to take down the giant by His strength, and He was going to use me to do so. I was only the stone…I needed to prepare to get catapulted. Yippee. And just like David used a smooth stone to take down Goliath, God was first going to work on me and smooth me out before He used me. And boy, did I have a lot of “smoothing out” that needed to be done.

I began knocking on all sorts of doors, praying for this musical to be taken up by someone. I wanted God to use the musical, but I was still doing everything I could to avoid being the person who took it up, just because I felt I could not do it justice. I was convinced that if God was going to use this musical, it had to be a grand show on a big stage. So, I went about aiming for “big.” But I realized I was completely missing Jesus’ vision for this musical when my pastor preached a sermon about the resurrection of Jesus. He explained that when Jesus rose from the grave, there weren’t cameras and paparazzi to capture the moment. Instead, shortly after the most climatic moment in history, it was Jesus’ mission to appear to two individuals on the road to Emmaus and open their eyes to see Him for all He truly is. My pastor said something along the lines of, “Jesus is not as concerned about a show as He is about a vindication of what He’s said and done.” Those words pierced my heart. I realized that God wanted to use this musical that proclaimed His true character to vindicate what He’s truly said and done in response to the entertainment of this world that twists His words and misrepresents Him. Jesus was not concerned about “The Great I AM” musical being a grand show; He was concerned about it being a vindication of what He’s said and done, and I needed to get on board with that.

With my lens slightly adjusted, I tried to not expect a grand, big show (though there is nothing wrong with grand, big shows…I just felt God had something different in mind for this musical) and continued asking around, trying to find someone who, even through getting the musical performed on a smaller scale, would still do the musical justice and bring out the message. I knocked on the doors of Christian schools, the music departments of churches, etc., but no door opened. I found myself going crazy until God impressed on my heart to “Be still, and know He is God.” I immediately took this to mean I needed to stop working and sit still, and God would send the opportunity to get a move-on at the right time. But after two weeks of praying and not doing anything else, I read Priscilla Shirer’s commentary on Isaiah 52:7 in her “The Armor of God” Bible study: “Get the picture that the prophet Isaiah paints squarely in your mind. It’s not the image of someone standing still, passing the time, waiting for the right opportunity to get up and go. No, his go shoes are on. He is running toward Jerusalem, eager to share the good news message. His feet are described as beautiful and lovely. And definitely in motion. These feet carry a message of salvation and hope to all people…Your feet have been made ready by the gospel. Now go!”

I was so confused. God was telling me to be still and know He is God, but He was also telling me to “go?” How could I do both? While meditating on this, I came to realize that “being still” is centered more on the state of one’s heart. It does not mean being inactive—it means stepping out into what God had called you to do, all the while keeping your heart steadfast on Him and knowing the God you’re trusting in. It means clinging to His promises and the truth of His character even when your obedience to Him does not seem to yield any results; because only when your heart is steadfast on God, and you’re focused on the truth of who He is, can you really “go” with nothing to discourage you and bring you down. Be still and know He is God.

Around this time, God also spoke to me from Haggai 1:2-10. Things didn’t seem to be going anywhere, and I was feeling tired and lethargic. Continuing to knock on doors and editing the script and music to get it performance-ready was getting exhausting, especially when there seemed to be no prospect of the musical getting performed. I was seriously beginning to think the timing was not right, and I needed to stop working on the musical and move on; and then, I read Haggai. At the time of Haggai chapter one, some exiles of Judah who had been taken captive to Babylon have returned to Jerusalem and been there for 18 years—however, the work of rebuilding the temple has lain idle for the last 14 years. After two years of rebuilding the temple, work on it has stopped, as God’s people are filled with discouragement and experiencing a lack of focus. God’s people are saying to themselves, “The time has not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built,” (verse 2). David Guzik writes in his commentary Enduring Word:

The people made their excuse sound spiritual. They couldn’t speak against the idea of building the temple, so they spoke against its timing. They said, ‘It isn’t God’s timing to rebuild the temple.’ Because of the great obstacles against the work, God’s people began to rationalize and decided that it wasn’t time to rebuild after all.” In response to this, God tells His people, ‘Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses, and this temple to lie in ruins?’ (verse 3-4)…This was the real problem – not that God’s people lived in paneled houses, but that they lived in such personal comfort and luxury while the temple was in ruins. The problem was simply wrongly ordered priorities. They were content to let the cause of the LORD suffer rather than give up their comfort. Instead, they should have felt no rest until the work of God was as prosperous as their personal lives. They should have been as willing to sacrifice for the work of God as they were for their personal comfort and luxury.”

I was deeply convicted. I lived in comfort and ease and wanted to make excuses to stop doing what God had called me to do the minute things started getting hard. I felt like Jesus was telling me, “Rachel. I called you to work on getting this musical performance ready. I never said it was going to be easy. If there is a delay in it getting performed, let it be because that is my will; but do all you can to ensure a delay beyond your control does not become a delay of your own choosing.” I purposed in my heart to not give up on the musical, even though I did so a little reluctantly. Deep down in my heart, I did not want the musical’s performance to be delayed by 14 years because of my inactivity.

The long path of knocking and asking around at last took us (my ever-supportive family and I) to my own church. My church has always opened their doors to our musical performances. The reason I had been reluctant to plan for “The Great I AM” to be performed at my church was because that would mean I would have to gather a cast for it and direct it—the very thing I had been trying to avoid all along. I just knew I could not do the musical justice. I am not talented in the area of directing, and besides, this musical was way bigger than any of the musicals I had done in the past. How in the world could I find enough people for all the roles? And even if I did find enough people, how in the world was I to properly cast them? I had no experience whatsoever with holding auditions (all previous musicals I had done had been with a small group of volunteers). So, even though I was feeling tired of not knowing what direction the musical was supposed to go in, I would have felt relieved if the musical could not be performed at my church because that would mean I did not have to direct it. But in a meeting with my pastor to discuss the “The Great I AM,” he was so kind and encouraging and offered his full support for the musical to be performed at my church. After meeting with so many closed doors and feeling discouraged because no one seemed to believe in the project enough to come alongside us, it was so unbelievably refreshing to talk with someone who did believe in it and to know that my church would host all our practices and performances for the musical.

Although I was touched by my pastor’s support, I was not happy with the way things were turning out. I could not be this musical’s director. I’m a little nobody with zero resources. I did not know where to get a cast to join me in this. What was God doing? I felt like I was having to work with this musical because He had chosen not to open any doors for the musical to get performed like how it was supposed to. I knew it was wrong, but I felt disappointed and a little angry. God was the one who had given me this musical and encouraged me to get it performance ready. Why hadn’t He opened any doors for it?

I know we can go to God and tell our loving, Heavenly Father whatever we’re feeling and ask Him to help us—but I felt so guilty about being upset that I couldn’t bring myself to pray about it. But God spoke to me about it anyway. In the midst of my struggle with the emotions I was feeling, He spoke to me through a devotional entry in Experiencing God Day-By-Day by Henry and Richard Blackaby entitled “Jesus Is Your Door.”

“‘I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.’ John 10:9

As Christians, we talk about God ‘opening doors’ to us as a means of His revealing His will. What we are asking God to do is engineer our circumstances to match what we think would be best. The problem is that we misunderstand what the door is. Jesus said He is the door...If you have substituted activity for your relationship with Christ, then circumstances can disrupt your activity. When the activity is hindered, you may assume the door has been closed. Yet, if Christ is the door in your life, He will guide you into every experience of Him that He wants, and there will be nothing that people can do to stop Him…When people oppose us, we can become discouraged or worry about what others are doing to us…This reveals that we do not really believe Jesus is the door for our lives. If we did, we would be assured that through Christ we have access to everything He wants to do in and through us.”

I had no excuse for griping anymore! I had a great, big door right in front of me, and I was running around looking for open windows to crawl in through. In running around trying to find “open doors” I had been neglecting my relationship with Jesus. He was the door to everything I needed—I needed only to come to Him. Yes, I, a little nobody with no resources, could “direct” this musical because the real director was going to be my God who is the door. When I am weak, He is my strength; when I lack anything, He is my provider. Through “The Great I AM” musical, my God was giving me the opportunity to experience Him as the Great I AM who is whatever I need in whatever situation I face.

For a while, I found great comfort in repeating “Jesus is the door. Jesus is the door,” to myself when things were not working out. You would think I never doubted Jesus again after hearing Him speak so clearly. But after several attempts at trying to form a cast and coming up empty handed, I absolutely lost it one day, and threw myself a pity party. I believed Jesus was the door, but I came to a point where I was struggling to even repeat that to myself. What I knew and what was happening just wasn’t matching. I still felt so alone in everything. Jesus had promised to provide me with everything I needed, but there still wasn’t a cast in sight; and time was seriously running out. We were approaching July, and performances needed to happen at the end of July before school started. Things were in very, very bad shape, and instead of repeating “Jesus is the door” I found myself wailing “All hope is lost!”

Jesus is so merciful. He never, ever gave up on me, even though I was at times a whining, stubborn pupil. The very day I was having my little mental breakdown, I happened to be reading Ezekiel chapter 37. Ezekiel has a vision in which he is surrounded by dry bones, and God tells Him “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live. I will put sinews on you and bring flesh upon you, cover you with skin and put breath in you; and you shall live. Then you shall know that I am the LORD,’” (verses 4-6). God then acts according to His word and does a miracle by bringing dead bones to life. In his commentary Enduring Word, David Guzik made a connection to what we as Christians should take away from this portion of Ezekiel when partnering with God in His reviving work:

“· God’s servant must know that the bones are dead and dry.

· God’s servant must walk among the dead.

· God’s servant must proclaim God’s word.

· God’s servant must have almost a foolish confidence in God’s Word.

· God’s servant must understand that the Spirit works in a process.

· God’s servant must recognize that the work of the Holy Spirit is essential.

· God’s servant must boldly pray for the Spirit to move.

· God’s servant must speak in the power of faith.

· God’s servant must notice every evidence of the Spirit’s work.

· God’s servant must look for God’s people to be revived into an army of service.

· God’s servant must not say that hope is lost.”

Hope was not lost. When I felt so discouraged and had no idea what to even ask the God who is my door, He plainly told me what I needed to pray and ask of Him. My family and I began praying for His spirit to move, and for Him to raise up an army to proclaim His name through the Great I Am musical. We prayed for Him to raise dead bones (my hopes and dreams for the musical that seemed like an impossible reality) to life.

I didn’t know what else to do, so I set up an informational meeting for the musical at my church on June 24th and started spreading the word at my church. I got the numbers of people I didn’t know very well and texted an invite to them, too. June 24th came, and I found myself standing before a cast of kids, randomly assigning out roles without holding auditions and having much to go off on, except a few voice recordings from a few people. That night, as I lay in my bed, I thought “What in the world am I doing?” I had not planned for this musical to be performed by a cast of kids…but then, I had not planned to “direct” it either. And I marveled at how I had sounded so pumped at the informational meeting about what God was going to do and how He was going to pull the musical together. We only had about 4 weeks of practice. We still didn’t have actors for some of the major roles. And oh, did I forget to mention? We still didn’t have our adult Moses.

Rehearsals were a roller coaster. By God’s grace, we soon got actors to fill all roles except adult Moses. We were off to a bumpy start when the lovely lady playing Jochebed and her two kids who were soloist and ensemble singers fell sick with Covid, but with much prayer, they were back for the second week of rehearsals. We full-fledged started practicing without having a clue about who our adult Moses was. The Israelites were ready…they just didn’t have the man to lead them outta Egypt. When I had first figured out that I would be the one “directing” the musical, I had resolved that I would not start rehearsals until we had gotten our adult Moses; and in reality, our adult Moses was the last one to show up. Yet again, God had different plans…and I really can’t help but laugh and laugh and laugh at His sense of humor. The Great I AM got a whole cast of kids and their parents praying for our Moses to appear; and on July 9th, our Moses came in for his first rehearsal.

God really raised up an army to proclaim His name. Each one in the cast and each person who worked backstage and behind the scenes were handpicked by God. What I thought was a random assignment of roles was not random; God knew each person’s gifts, and He assigned them to their roles without us even holding auditions. I was awed at how each role seemed custom made for the person playing it. My mom said that one audience member told her after the play that it was perfectly casted. I couldn’t agree more.

I don’t know if the cast thought I was crazy, but they got down to business and got dirty anyway, putting their whole hearts into proclaiming Jesus through “The Great I AM” musical. They demonstrated unshakeable faith in Him, even when rehearsals were a mess. They joined me in praying, encouraged me, and believed in God to do the impossible. God didn’t just provide a cast to take this musical up. He provided a family.

The presence of God filled the church when “The Great I AM” musical was performed. It was electric. Our performance was in no way perfect, but the presence of the Great I AM was there. Even as I was watching the cast perform, I felt so moved, and I could feel Him moving those in the audience as well. And speaking of the audience…we didn’t really know how to advertise, so we asked God to bring us our audience, and He did. We performed for more people than we could count. But more important than the numbers, I got to hear some stories of how certain members in the audience were beyond blessed by the musical’s message of freedom, and how individuals who did not yet know Christ were there for the performances. Just as God handpicked our cast, I believe He handpicked our audience, too.

I want to thank you all who prayed fervently for this musical and for me. I am forever grateful and know that you were fighting battles in the spiritual realms for the cast and me on your knees. We will only know the full impact this musical had when we get to heaven; but after so strongly feeling God’s presence during the performances in a way I have never felt before, I believe that God used our five loaves and two fish to vindicate His name. I know without a doubt that the Son of David brought down countless giants in people’s lives—giants of fear, giants of doubt, giants of purposelessness—through revealing who He is and the freedom that comes from only Him. I know because through this musical, my Jesus has brought down such giants in my life. The cast and I enjoyed the Great I AM showing up in so many ways throughout the whole month we were practicing together.

Looking back, I am taken back to that late night when Jesus gently and tenderly asked me about the musical, “Rachel, will you write it for me?” I know now that Jesus was not calling me to write the musical so I could do Him some kind of service. After all, He doesn’t need a musical from a little nobody. He was calling me to write it for Him so that He could change me and draw me to Himself and so that I could experience Him in a way I had never before. He is the Great I AM who is whatever I need no matter what situation I face.

I stand in awe of my sweet Jesus. I stand in awe because He plopped this musical into my hands and gave me the great joy of seeing Him do what I had deemed impossible. I stand in awe because He used a cast of little kiddos to proclaim His name. I stand in awe because He made a way when there was no way. I stand in awe because of His goodness, His love, His power and His ability to use the weak things of this world to confound the strong.

All glory and honor forever be to the Great I Am.

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Ramya Stephen
Ramya Stephen
Oct 08, 2022

Hallelujah!! What a powerful testimony Rachel! I cannot find the words to express how good and faithful our God is! Thank you for sharing.... it's wonderful to read how the Lord has been speaking and guiding you through this play. May the Lord continue to use you mightily for His Kingdom works! BTW... I was blown away by the "Great I Am" musical. The message was so intense and so needed! In a world were The Word has been watered down and the sovereignty of God belittled, I praise God for plays like yours. I am sure God is going to continue using that play to touch many hearts! God bless you Rachel. Love you! Jer 1:7-9

Rachel Ambat
Rachel Ambat
Oct 09, 2022
Replying to

@Ramya Stephen Aww! Thank you Ramaunty!!! I love you too! 😍

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