In the year of King Uzziah’s death, I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, the edges of his robe filling the temple. Winged creatures were stationed around him. Each had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew about. They shouted to each other, saying:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of heavenly forces!
All the earth is filled with God’s glory!”
The doorframe shook at the sound of their shouting, and the house was filled with smoke.
I said, “Mourn for me; I’m ruined! I’m a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips. Yet I’ve seen the king, the Lord of heavenly forces!”
Then one of the winged creatures flew to me, holding a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips. Your guilt has departed, and your sin is removed.”
Then I heard the Lord’s voice saying, “Whom should I send, and who will go for us?”
I said, “I’m here; send me.”
Have you ever felt like a total fraud? Like you didn’t have the smarts, talent, or wisdom to do something you’d been asked to do? It’s not uncommon – in fact, there’s a name for it – “Imposter Syndrome.” All of us have been there. The scriptures reveal over and over again people who hardly felt up to the tasks God had given them – prophets, disciples, leaders of all kinds. Most of the time, when we ask wise mentors how to deal with these feelings, they’ll say something like, “you’ve just got to fake it till you make it.” In other words, keep going till the inside catches up with the outside.
Sometimes that works. But in this passage – the beloved story of the prophet Isaiah’s visionary calling – he receives a totally different message. In response to Isaiah’s feeling of inadequacy and unworthiness, God acts first to remind Isaiah that he is forgiven and beloved. This frees Isaiah to say, “Here I am, Lord, send me!”
For Pondering & Prayer
In what area of your life do you need a reminder from God that you are forgiven, beloved (and competent)?
Who do you know that is struggling with confidence? How will you encourage them today?