When was the last time you felt like God simply couldn’t use you? Notice I didn’t ask if you have ever felt this way, because we all feel like this from time to time. Well, God has words of great comfort for you and for me:
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” And he said, “Go…” (Isaiah 6:1-9)
On the occasion of his calling, the prophet Isaiah went from “woe” to “go” because of the grace of God. When Isaiah was given a glimpse into the court of heaven, he instantly recognized the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man—including himself. He cast an oracle of “woe” upon himself, but the story does not end there! God, in His mercy and grace, reached down to Isaiah, cleansed him from his filthiness, and fitted him for service. The Lord, high and lifted up, equipped Isaiah to “go” and advance the cause of God’s Kingdom. This is God’s way.
God took Isaiah from his sinful inadequacy—“Woe is me!”—and transformed him into the almighty adequacy of “Go and tell.” God is in the business of cleansing us and calling us . . . and cleansing us and calling us . . . over and over again. This is the message we need to press deep down into the very marrow of our souls.
God delights in taking us from “woe” to “go,” which displays for all the world the adequacy of His almighty strength, put to use in weak and broken vessels like you and me. The only qualification for service is to know we are unqualified. Remember, God chose the weak to shame the strong and the foolish to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27); that way there is no doubt as to the cause of victory. God has been putting His omnipotent strength on display in vessels who are so weak and unwise that there can be no doubt as to the One who is the victor.
So . . . when was the last time you went from “woe” to “go” in some area God was calling you to advance? Or is it possible that you are stuck right now in the middle of “woe?” In your marriage? In your parenting? In a friendship? With a family member? At the office? In your service to others? The only thing wrong with beginning with “woe” is if you end there too! The devil would love for you to stumble through life going from one woe to another. Perhaps even someone close to you has the “gift” of pointing out a place of woe, intending to keep you wallowing around in it. But as Steve Brown would say, “This smells like smoke and comes from the pit of hell.”
The Bible is filled with examples of men and women who went from “woe” to “go,” and in the process did some mighty things for the expansion of the kingdom of God. We were designed to go from strength to strength (Psalm 84:7). Is this the confession of your life? It will be, if you remember the One who is constantly calling you out of your “woe” and into His “go” and remember that He is with you every step of the way.
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!