Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I; send me!”
This is a verse from Isaiah that is likely one we all remember, and lest we forget it we are reminded of God’s call to each of us in the song, “Here I am Lord.”
Isaiah’s cry of” “Here I am; send me!” is an overwhelming response to God’s presence and grace. Isaiah is not volunteering to be sent by God because he thinks he has such great skills that God needs him to use. He is responding to God who has made him whole by forgiving and cleansing him from sin. He is laying his life before God who has encountered him and made him whole, and he knows something wonderful has happened in that cleansing.
Probably, if Isaiah had been more acutely aware of what God wanted him to do, he might have skipped worship that day. Surely he would have thought twice before uttering those words “Here am I, send me”.
If we read on past verse 8 to verse 13 we see that Isaiah’s call is not to preach words of comfort and joy to the people, but rather to give harsh demands to a people lost and far from the ways of God. Isaiah’s time of serving God was not one of those times for comfort. God called him to give witness to how they would struggle to understand and know that the condition of their hearts would need cleansing.
This was not an easy call for Isaiah.
Every pastor that takes a call to a community of faith that has been through a traumatic experience where people got angry with each other, or developed strong and willful battles within the church, knows the challenge of Isaiah’s calling. This can happen in the work place, in a family or any organization, when personal desires rule over God’s loving leadership. Whoever God sends to help them work through their issues can understand that a leadership of love is demanding in the face of an unwillingness to repent.
I recall when I was growing up in a church family that only offered baptism to those who made a confession of faith, my brother never asked for God’s forgiveness of his sins, and was never baptized. My parents and I prayed for him without ceasing. It was not until he was 32 and lived hundreds of miles away that he confessed his sins and asked to be baptized.
I recall that he called my Mom and told her that he was to be baptized and shared his joy of what Jesus had done for him. He said, “Mom thank you and Dad for praying for me all these years. You can still pray for me, but please make them prayers of thanksgiving.”
One year later, almost from the day from his baptism, he was killed in an automobile accident. Our grief of losing him was blessed with the comfort that we would see him again in glory. Thanks for prayers that keep on keeping on. The fortitude of our prayer requests was a ministry of faith that one day he would hear God’s call and offer of forgiveness.
We are called to be God’s witnesses, by what we see in our world and by what we do in our world. Seeing God’s power at work in difficult places always requires prayer. Doing God’s will requires a love that is unyielding, honest and purposefully relies on God’s leadership.
So, when we read Isaiah 6:8 may we pray for God to guide us to say as Isaiah said, “Here I am Lord, send me.” Knowing that wherever God sends us and whatever the task may be God will be there to support us in that call. May God give us the strength to continue in that call until God’s will is done.
- How has it been for you?
- How have you felt, seen, or experienced the awesomeness of God’s call in your life?
- How is God calling you? Will you say “Here I am Lord, send me.”?
Sue is NLS Spiritual Director, since 2019 and is a retired Lutheran Pastor (ELCA). Active in VdC since 1995, she has served two terms on the Board of the Texas VdC Secretariat, and also on the Texas Gulf Coast VdC Board as Spiritual Director since its start-up in 2017.