This past weekend, we were privileged once again to worship at our "second church home," our African partner church. I always love going there, I wish it were closer... I'd go most Sundays, I think! I am always so blessed to be there with our precious brothers and sisters. This past Sunday was a little different, though, in that it was a memorial service for the father of one of our dear friends. It was a bittersweet day, as those services usually are, but the sweet part was so, so sweet. Not only were there tears shed and memories shared, but there was the added blessing of true celebration, African style! Never have I gone from crying to dancing so quickly. It's so good for the soul!
The message from Pastor Kwaku this weekend was so good, I wanted to share part of it with you. He spoke out of Isaiah 6:1,
"In the year of King Uzziah's death I saw the LORD, sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted, with the train of His robe filling the temple."
King Uzziah had reigned for over 50 years and it had been a prosperous time for Judah. The economy was good, there was a time of relative peace with Israel, there was the security that accompanies those times when things are going very well... and then the king died. Those who had looked to the king were hit hard, for he was gone. Pastor Kwaku asked a very powerful question, "Who is your King Uzziah?" I suppose that "who" could be a "what," too. To whom or what am I looking for security? I think it blew them away when King Uzziah died, maybe in much the same way as it hit everyone so hard when JFK died. "Now what are we going to do?"
What did Isaiah do? He went to the temple. He went into the presence of the Lord. He took it straight to God. He cried out to Him. And guess what, he saw Him. He not only saw Him, he saw where He is-- high and lifted up, exalted, on His throne, in His rightful place, sovereign over all that was taking place. Isaiah had been in the temple before, obviously. He had been serving the Lord. He "knew" the Lord. But after the king's death, God revealed Himself to Isaiah in a new way.
Are you in a time of loss? Maybe it's the loss of a person, a dream, or a change in circumstances. Anytime we lose someone or something significant to us, it can shake us. But, may those be times we can say:
"In the year of _____'s death, I saw the LORD sitting on a throne, lofty and exalted..."
In those times of loss, may we do what Isaiah did, go to the temple, going not only into the presence of the Lord but into the presence of His people. In those times of loss and change, God is ready to reveal His glory to us in powerful, new ways. And He will show us that He is right where He's always been: on His throne. We can receive His comfort, His cleansing, and go forth (as Isaiah did) in His power, forever changed.