In the Book of Isaiah, chapter six, we find a jewel in the collection of God calling/man responding accounts. Isaiah heard the voice of the Lord: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”
As the body of Christ, we are privileged to partner with the Godhead in ministry.
The prophet is clear in his reply, “Here am I. Send me.” The Lord says “Go”; Isaiah asks “How long?” The Lord says “Until.” This to me is a common template for our glorious partnership with God: the willing surrender – the sending – the request for clarity – the mystery.
Asking questions is not a lack of faith, but rather a tilling of the heart’s soil, unto ever-deepening relationship.
What then is the preparation unto the point of being ready to respond “Here am I. Send me”? What is it that will keep our hearts postured to accept the Lord’s invite? I would propose two primary elements.
First, Isaiah saw the Lord. Second, he was undone. (6:1-5) The tender place of worship and being “undone” by His holiness – this is the heart that the Godhead esteems ready for assignment.
The glaring need for preparation is illustrated for us about a hundred years after Isaiah’s time. “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” (Ezekiel 22:30)
God is looking for someone to send. The volunteer pool was dry. Rather than a vision of God and encounter with His holiness, there was among the troops what God called a “conspiracy” – an unlawful alliance akin to treason.
“The conspiracy of her prophets… they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy… Her prophets plastered them with untempered mortar, seeing false visions, and divining lies for them, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord God,’ when the Lord had not spoken. (v.25,26,28)
First, they were lacking the “edge” of holiness; the “undone” quality was missing. Second, they fell into compromise and people-pleasing. Meanwhile, God was seeking but found no one. The man who would eventually rise to stand in the gap was the prophet Daniel.
“When he had spoken such words to me, I turned my face toward the ground and became speechless. And suddenly, one having the likeness of the sons of men touched my lips; then I opened my mouth and spoke, saying to him who stood before me, ‘My lord, because of the vision my sorrows have overwhelmed me, and I have retained no strength. For how can this servant of my lord talk with you, my lord? As for me, no strength remains in me now, nor is any breath left in me.’ Then again, the one having the likeness of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, ‘O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!’ So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, ‘Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.’” (Daniel 10:15-19)
The same touch that makes us “undone” in our weakness, is the same touch that imparts to us strength. The time in between, no man can measure or predict. This we know: it is the preparation for sending.