“Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?”
The prophet exclaims, “Here I am. Send me!”
If only all Christians would respond with the same evangelical fervor!
But notice what happens before that. Isaiah encounters the Lord of hosts and he laments his sinfulness. “Woe is me, I am doomed! For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the Kim, the Lord of hosts!” Isaiah lived in a time where God did not unveil his countenance. Those who saw Him were sure to die. Isaiah’s sinfulness doomed him, but God had mercy! He sent one of the seraphim with a purifying ember from the altar to cleanse him.
God didn’t debate with Isaiah. He didn’t say, “Oh no, no, no, child. You’re perfect just the way you are. You’re doing great.” No! God knew just as well as Isaiah that he was unworthy, but God loved him anyway. God freely gave him the gift of mercy, but that gift came through suffering. Like gold in a furnace, our impurities must be burned away. It’s not easy. It’s not pleasant. But it is sweet because of our love for God.
It is only after this purgation that God invites Isaiah to be His messenger.
What does that show us about the Gospel? Jesus calls us to speak and proclaim all that He reveals to us. He calls us to be preachers of the Good News as God the Father invited Isaiah to be.
Like Isaiah, we must be purged of our sinfulness. Unlike Isaiah, we can strive to be freed from our worldly sins and attachments on this side of heaven. Truly, sin is rooted in loving something else more than loving God: self, pleasure, good feelings, money, friends, family, culture, what have you. All of those things are good when properly ordered, but as soon as they mean more to us than God does, well then we’ve stepped into idolatry.
Prayer and fasting is the antidote to worldly attachments and the strength of the Christian.
-Amanda Benner, Director of Evangelization