(Image from gwdm.org)
‘What a wretched state I am in!’
Isaiah clearly underwent a conversion in between: ‘What a wretched state I am in!’ and ‘Here I am, send me’.
In Biblical stories of the human response to God’s call, elements of this conversion process recur. These find echoes at times in my own life when I am asked to undertake something new for God.
Facing the contrasts between divine power and my weakness; God’s holiness and my deceitful, destructive ego, my impulse is to step away from involvement in God’s plan, as Peter did: ‘”Leave me, Lord; I am a sinful man”’ (Luke 5). I talk to myself in this way: ‘Who do you think you are to undertake this mission for God? There must be many other people who would be better and more suitable for it’.
Then, I am given to understand that it would not be myself doing this work but ‘rather the grace of God that is with me’ (1 Cor 15). So, God’s power would make me capable of accomplishing it.
‘”See now, this has touched your lips, your sin is taken away, your iniquity is purged.”’
My part is only to become a willing instrument for God’s purposes. With Peter, I am also brought to understand that the plan God has in mind is much greater than my little fears,
‘”Do not be afraid…” (Luke 5)
-since it is for the benefit of all people,
…from now on it is men you will catch.”’ (Luke 5)
My mind now performs a U-turn so that my original question:
“Who do you think you are to undertake this mission for God?” becomes,
“Who do you think you are not to undertake this mission for God?”
That is to say, will you let self-centred anxieties prevent God’s life-giving message from reaching others through you? Who are you to obstruct God’s salvific plan by not doing the little part for which you were made?
And God’s grace enables me to answer:
‘“Here I am, send me.”’