In less than a week, this election season and its tumultuous — sometimes torturous — campaign will be over. We may know the outcome of the voting, and we may not. Both the campaign itself and uncertainty about the aftermath have left most Americans anxious and concerned about our immediate future.
The Old Testament prophet Isaiah had an experience that should prove encouraging to us. One day Isaiah woke to hear that King Uzziah of Judah had died. Uzziah was a good and wise king who reigned for 52 years. However, he had met with a personally tragic end, which undoubtedly overwhelmed ancient Jerusalem with anxiety and turmoil.
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple.” (Isaiah 6:1)
The prophet was permitted to see that, while his world was being rocked by uncertainty, God remained on his throne in heaven. God’s almighty power and constant reign brought Isaiah direction, assurance — and profound change.
Isaiah saw God in all his glory, with angels that surround his throne and declare, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (6:3)
Think of God’s holiness as absolute purity, 100% goodness. That may be difficult to do in our fallen, broken world, but that is reality right now, in heaven. Just look outside: while we can’t see God on his throne as Isaiah did, we can glimpse his creativity and splendor in the world around us.
When Isaiah saw the Lord in his holiness, he became aware of his own failings. “‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the king, the Lord almighty.’” (6:5)
We would call Isaiah a good man, yet he had a “potty mouth” that few people knew about. Each of us has our failings, flaws, and sins which would separate us permanently from God, if he did not take action on our behalf. At this moment, one of the angels brought a live coal from the altar before the Lord: “‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.’” (6:7).
For us, God’s only son, Jesus Christ, took the penalty for our sin upon himself when he died in our place on the cross. When we believe in him, our guilt is taken away and our sin paid for completely. Then we are able to approach God with confidence.
Once our lives are changed by God through faith in Jesus, he renews us with purpose. The Lord asked for a volunteer to serve him in Jerusalem and Isaiah replied, “Here am I. Send me!” (6:8)
While uncertainty and upheaval may mark the days ahead, our lives can have clear direction and purpose from the one who reigns now and forever. May Jesus himself give you peace and purpose going forward, regardless of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Don Baumann is outreach pastor at Hilltop Community Church.