It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of His robe filled the Temple. Attending Him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew. They were calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies! The whole earth is filled with His glory!” Their voices shook the Temple to its foundations, and the entire building was filled with smoke. Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.” Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs. He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.” Isaiah 6:1-7 NLT
Can you imagine being Isaiah and standing before God in the throne room? Imagine the power and glory that radiated in that spot? Angels flying all over singing, praising, and worshipping the Lord of Hosts? What an overwhelming sight to behold.
It’s no wonder that Isaiah stood there and said “Woe is me.” (KJV) I can’t imagine taking in the glory of God and saying anything else. In the midst of this moment, somewhere in the recesses of his mind, the thought occurred that here he was, a completely sinful human, standing before God – the Holy One. As he stood there and realized he was in the presence of Holiness, what else could he say? The contrast between his utter failure to God’s perfection….well, I would say “Woe is me” too.
And I do. We don’t see everything God is doing all around us. He is always at work and we miss most of it. But we do get to catch glimpses of Him every now and again. When I do, I, like Isaiah, verbalize a form of “Woe is me.” It comes out more like “I can’t do this. I am not qualified. This is too big for me. I don’t have the training.” I realize as I see Him move in His absolutely mind-blowing ways, that my insignificance, my sin, my attitudes are all disqualifiers.
But then I remember that there wasn’t one human being ever that was qualified to represent God. Not one.
As Isaiah processed his “unclean lips”, a seraphim flew over to the Alter, picked up a hot coal with a tong and placed it on his lips. He said “Your guilt is removed.” (NLT) God gave Isaiah a gift of forgiveness and healing.
We’ve been given that gift too. As Jesus hung on the cross He uttered the words “It is finished.” You are forgiven. Your sins have been removed. Same gift that was offered to Isaiah.
And like Isaiah, each of us is called. We all have a job to do in God’s Kingdom. He has something for every one of his kids to accomplish. When I am tempted to think “I can’t because…” I need to remember that because of Jesus, I can. I have been qualified. So have you.
And I will lean into my calling. Because I love Him. I will face my fears and inadequacies knowing that Jesus lives in me and because of His sacrifice, His power enables me. When life is over and I bow before His throne, I won’t be afraid anymore. When I hear Him say “Well done”, I will know the journey was worth it.