by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –
When we think of prophets of God, we tend to think of (and perhaps envy) their clear, often dramatic, call to service. How often have you heard Christians—sincere, devoted, Spirit-filled Christians—earnestly explain, “Yes, I see that there is a needy world out there. I would like to be able to help, but God hasn’t called me! You know, if I were sure God was calling me to officership (or some other form of Christian service), I wouldn’t hesitate, but I just don’t have a clear calling!”
Surprise, surprise: neither did one of the most famous prophets in the Bible. Have you ever noticed: Isaiah, the great prophet through whom God chose to reveal much concerning the coming travails of His people, and even more concerning the coming of Messiah, volunteered his services, no questions asked, when the Lord expressed a need for a messenger. God didn’t say, “Isaiah, I want you to be my prophet.” He said simply, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”(Isaiah 6:8). God indicated a need; Isaiah jumped at the chance to serve.
But hold on! Let’s back up a little, here. There’s a bit of background that we need to understand if we are going to properly interpret Isaiah’s willingness to put himself on the line. To understand Isaiah’s ready response, we need to also understand that Isaiah has just undergone a life-changing, soul-shaking experience: he has just seen the Lord, recognized his own unworthiness, been completely forgiven his sins and cleansed of his guilt. He has been at the heart of a spiritual tornado that has changed his heart and life, humbled him and uplifted him, filled him with a gratitude understandable only to those who have experienced the freedom and incredible delight of sins forgiven. Out of such gratitude is born the excitement and fervor that sensitize the spirit to the needs of the lost, and drives one to commit one’s self to the service of almighty God.
Isaiah committed. “Here I am! Send me.”
He saw the need. God accepted his offer.
It cannot be said that God made it easy for Isaiah. The message he was to take to the people was not a pleasant one. He was given the chore of telling his people the plain, unvarnished truth about themselves, with the knowledge that nothing he said was going to bear visible “kingdom fruit,” at least in the short term. But there was a holy seed of promise. It was enough. And one of Scripture’s most inspiring, authoritative prophets entered God’s service.
Who can truly say, “God has not called me?” By what authority can such a claim be made? Certainly the circumstances of God’s call may be unique with each individual. It seems to me that how the call comes often depends on the spiritual sensitivity of the individual. For some it may be the sight of a field “white unto harvest,” and a spirit that recognizes the need and says, “Here am I, Lord! Send me.” For others it may be an inner prompting, an awareness of the “rightness” of their commitment to life-service. Still others have an intense sense of personal calling—of God touching their lives and saying, “I want you!” And then there are those perhaps less sensitive to His calling, those willing to yield only when He drops a bombshell on them (I know whereof I speak—I was one of them—and I’ve always harbored a touch of envy for people who immediately hear and respond to God’s first whispers). A dramatic call is sometimes God’s last resort, but when all else fails, He sometimes does use the spiritual equivalent of a baseball bat!
No, God does not call all of us to the same branch of His service, but call us He does, in His own time, and His own way. Every Christian is challenged to a life of service before the Lord. Such a life is a privilege and a source of joy that no unbeliever will ever understand. It is a privilege and a position of trust that no non-Christian can ever share. It is a privilege and a source of challenges that no one could ever meet if she/he ventured alone, without the Christ walking alongside.
But oh, what a privilege it is, to put one’s self on the line for Christ!