Humble people often have times in their lives when they receive an honor that they think they did not deserve. This praise may lead them to ask the question “who am I to deserve this?” They consider themselves unworthy of the glory for whatever reason and they question its purpose. The experience may be awe-inspiring and somewhat frightening. Who am I? What did I do? Why are you giving me these accolades?
The Casting Crowns song “Who Am I” asks such a question in reference to the great love and attention that the Lord continually shows us. The lyrics express wonder at the fact that Jesus Christ favors each one of us individually. Jesus Christ. The Son of God. The Lord of all. He knows us, loves us and wants to help us. How often does such a powerful person ever care this much about you?
The song begins with the piano playing a simple melody that is also the melody for the words “Who Am I,” that most important question. After a reflective period of quiet, the singing starts and asks “who am I that the Lord knows my name?” “Who am I that the Lord knows when I hurt? Who am I that the Lord would take the time to light the way for me personally, to lead me on the right path, the path to salvation?” As these lyrics are sung, the music decreases in pitch expressing our unworthiness. As the pitch of the music increases, the lyrics profess that Jesus does this not because of anything that we’ve done, not because of our successes or accomplishments (Eph 2:4-9) – He does these things because of his great love for us; so much love that he died for our sins.
The refrain expands on the receipt of this wonderful love. Compared to the glory and power of God, we are really nothing. We are like flowers that quickly fade (Ps 103:15). Our lives are short (Ps 91:10), like a mere puff of air (Ps 62:10), and are nothing compared to God’s eternity. Yet, the Lord listens to our cries (Ps 4:4, Ps 6:10, Ps 18:7). He catches us when we fall (Ps 91:10). Why does he show us so much love? Because we belong to God (Rom 14:8, 1 Cor 3:22-23). The lyrics here answer the question “Who Am I” with “I Am Yours”, using the same melody for both the question and the answer to emphasize the connection between the two.
The second verse proclaims that, even though we are sinners who fall back into our sinning ways, the Lord does not cast us aside. He does not compare our sinfulness with his purity (Ps 143:2), but calls us and helps us to stand. He uses the same power that he used to calm the sea (Mk 4:35) to calm our frantic and confused souls. The Lord of all works within each one of us, assuring us.
The refrain is sung again, followed by a brief musical interlude. The beginning of the interlude suggests conflict, loss, confusion. However, the interlude ends suggesting a peaceful resolution. The song concludes with the realization that, no matter what happens, no matter how unworthy we are, we are God’s.
“For you are a people holy to the LORD, your God; the LORD, your God, has chosen you from all the peoples on the face of the earth to be a people specially his own (Dt 7:6).”
A blog dedicated to understanding Christian rock