This phrase from Isaiah 6 reminds me of the year that almost all of my spiritual heroes died or went belly up somehow. In the same year John Wimber passed away, Malcolm Smith got his second divorce, and several other prominent leaders in the body of Christ were involved in scandals. I think this was the time when Bob Jones was under discipline, although you couldn’t really call him a hero of mine.
I also had just about all of my close friends move or move on somehow, leaving me in a season of sudden isolation. I could go on, but whining isn’t really the reason here. The point is to say that sometimes that’s what happens, things move on somehow, seemingly leaving you behind. So other people’s transitions force a change on us as well.
So there’s Isaiah, having lost this great leader in his life, this mentor, this father of the faith. So what does Isaiah do at this point of loss? He goes to the temple of God, to the only real rock he has, the only real absolute, unchanging person there is. This is a good move on Isaiah’s part.
This kind of thing is actually fairly common. In fact, I believe God plans these types of changes in our lives when he is planning to do something new in our lives. He gives us a subtle, or sometimes not so subtle, sign that the learning curve is about to get a little steeper. So Isaiah’s strategy of seeking the Lord in His temple, in the holy place, is a good one for someone in this kind of a situation.
I believe that Isaiah was lead to the Lord by a lot of things. I don’t think he was thinking, “ I think I’ll go to church and have a trance-thingy of religious ecstasy today, maybe write a little scripture.” He was lead by a strong sense of grief. He was wondering what would become of his nation. As a prophet, he had a deep sense of the people of Israel slipping into a chasm of leaderless wandering and deep moral decay. He was concerned for the nation’s spiritual strength wasting away after this strong leader was taken from the scene.
And yet, for all these concerns, this was the day that the Lord decided to pull the lid off of the spiritual realm and let Isaiah see the incredible things going on during a normal day of worship in the throne room of heaven. The Lord seated on a throne! Angels singing Holy! Holy! Holy! A spiritual earthquake in the temple as the voice of the one seated on the throne went thundering forth! Not your usual boring religious service.
Have you ever been interrupted by God like that? You know the scene, you’re just minding your own business, doing your normal routine thing, and then, whoosh!, the presence of God is just, well, there! Two minutes ago you weren’t sure whether any of this was real and then, suddenly you’re up to your eyeballs in Reality, a throbbing, pulsing, surging knowledge of the realness of this supreme reality.
I was just going to bed. I was yawning and moving my weary frame down to bed, as I’ve done thousands of times. Then I have this idea. I think I’ll just spend some time here before I go to bed praying. And then, Whoosh! I’m suddenly engulfed in a fire of prayer I did not know was in me. The mood went higher, higher, higher, and then, whoosh! Again. This was such an awesome experience that I felt a need, no, a compelling, to go to the floor on my face. So I got on the floor face down, still praying. Then an awesome stillness hit me. I could not move or speak. I knew that if I would open my eyes I would see the risen Lord Jesus Christ right there in front of me. I knew that if I opened my eyes I would see a pair of sandaled feet right there. I could sense the presence of someone standing right in front of me, the way you sense a family member has just come home or someone in the next room. What happened then? I went to bed, totally transformed, and just a little bit freaked out. That night God became a Real, Supernatural Being that I did not have any control of or understanding of. It was the beginning of something. I just didn’t know what. But I did know one thing; He was the One in charge, and not me.