Thursday, April 15, 2010

What It Takes to be Called - Part 2

Part II:  Then Comes the Glory, but It Doesn't Seem Too Glorious . . .

The break has been a longer than expected due to Project Reclamation (which included such smaller gems as Operation Bunkbeds, Operation Keyboard, Operation Bye-Bye Teal . . .), but as I was puttering around the house this evening, the Lord said that it was once again time to write.  So here I am . . .

The last part of the examination of Isaiah's calling was about what had to happen first – the death of the King.  What came next was the glory.  We like that word a lot, at least I did growing up.  I can distinctly remember a sappy, sugary Peter Cetera song about “The Glory of Love” . . . “I am a man who will fight for your honor, I'll be the hero you've been dreaming of.  We'll live forever knowing together that we did it all for the glory of love.”  Sweet song, and that was my concept of glory – feels good, looks good, is nice to snuggle up with and cuddle.  That, folks, is NOT Biblical glory.  Not even a little bit.

My first glimpse of what Biblical glory was really about came through one of Tommy Tenney's Godchaser books.  He said (to paraphrase) that modern Christians confuse the anointing and the glory of the Lord.  The anointing puts you in the zone, feels warm and wonderful, and generally just makes the world feel right.  The glory, though, knocks you on your face.  That's just what happened to Isaiah.

Isaiah 6:3 – And one cried unto another, and said, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts:  the whole earth is full of his glory.

The glory of the Lord has arrived at Isaiah's doorstep.  His train is filling the temple.  Watch what happens next:

Isaiah 6:4  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound really warm and wonderful to me – more like an earthquake combined with a tornado.  The very foundations of the temple trembled; it became difficult to see clearly.  There was a haze about the place that blended with Isaiah's grief.  And what was Isaiah thinking about?

Isaiah 6:5 – Then said I, “Woe is me!  For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips:  for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.

In the midst of this majestic and quite frankly terrifying display of power, in the midst of his intense grief over loss, Isaiah realizes that he, who has faithfully worked for the kingdom, is still woefully unworthy to be in the presence of a holy God.  He realizes that he is part of a people with unclean lips living in a fallen condition, still undeserving.  Even now.  How humbling for him that must have been.  And to have seen the King – to want to approach Him so badly – and to know that you were completely undone in His presence.

Thus far, we know this, if you want to be called,
You will experience great loss as things that are not compatible with the promise are stripped away.
You will experience a tearing and a shaking in your life, as the very foundations of your faith are shaken, just as the foundations of the temple were shaken in Isaiah's time.
You will become aware that you are NOT who you need to be . . . yet.

Have you seen your foundation shaken?  Have you felt your world tremble in doubt as you faced a loss?  Have you been left unable to see the direction that you need to take?  Does your world seem hazy and full of pain?  Do you feel unworthy to do what God has called you to do because of these things?  Then look up, God may be calling . . .

There is a cleansing that must take place if you are going to fulfill His call.  And that cleansing may just lead to more pain.  Makes you wonder, when someone says that they want to be used of God, do they really understand what that means?  And as for the pain, more on that later . . .

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