For me, that first happened in the early 1970s. I had been searching for something, not realizing it at the time. I wondered about death. I had messed up my life, but that didn’t seem as important as finding meaning to it.
I’d read the Bible for nearly seventeen years, a habit imitating my mother, but without understanding it. I read almost everything else I could get my hands on too, mostly from the library because I had no money for books.
While reading a library book on reincarnation, I came across a Scripture verse. I don’t remember what it was now, but at that moment, the room was filled with a brighter light — and I was aware of the presence of the King of kings. On that day, Jesus came into my world and changed everything.
Isaiah’s experience was even more profound. He was in the temple “in the year that King Uzziah died” and saw the Lord sitting on a throne. Above the Lord were seraphim (angels) calling out praises to God. As they did, the foundations of the thresholds shook and the place was filled with smoke. Then Isaiah said,
Woe is me! For I am undone; 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! (Isaiah 6:5)
“Undone” is one of those words that we know its meaning but have trouble defining it. Undone could mean lost, or brought to silence, and carries the idea that Isaiah had no spunk or energy left in him. He had seen God and as my mother would say, it knocked the stuffing out of him.
I understand this word. It is the way I felt when I realized that without God there is nothing, no merit in me, no claim of goodness, no power to do right or think right. Yet as Bonar said, this did not happen because I could suddenly see myself as I really am. It happened because God allowed me to see Jesus.
Lord, I feel that same sense of need this morning as I felt that day more than forty years ago. I am hungry to see You, high and lifted up, holy and full of glory. I know that by seeing You, I will also say, “Woe is me” but that is just the beginning of what even a glimpse of You can do. Open my eyes, Lord. I want to see Jesus.