Have you ever experienced an earthquake? If not, ponder another natural disaster that you may have closely endured. Recently I felt my first earthquake, and even though I’d read and heard about them my whole life, no description really prepares one for such a phenomenon. Our entire house shook back and forth, there were strange sounds, and our glassware rattled and clanged. While only for a few moments, it was scary!

My mind raced during this brief episode as it was a completely new experience. The first thought was, “what is happening?”. Then after realizing it was an earthquake, I wondered if it would get worse, when it would end, how we should respond, if our house was going to collapse and if anyone might become injured. Fortunately, there were no severe impacts.

The earthquake was yet another reminder of the fragility of life and the sheer power of the natural forces on this planet.

In today’s reading (Isaiah 6:1-11), Isaiah shares a vision regarding his encounter with the Lord seated on a throne surrounded by angels calling out in worship. During this worship, the “doorposts and thresholds shook”.

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:4)

I believe the small magnitude earthquake that I felt was mere child’s play when compared to what we will someday witness in the presence of God’s throne. We’re talking about the creator of the universe, there is no higher power, mountains shake before him!

Consider Isaiah’s awe-filled response. His fear was directly correlated to the immediate understanding of the impact of his sin:

“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.” (Isaiah 6:5)

Someday each of us will literally experience a similar encounter as our time on Earth is only temporary. We won’t be able to stand before God with excuses, and our explanations of “how good we were” will be futile. On our own merit we would be held accountable for how we responded to his provisions and love, and guilty for all of our sins. It is a hopeless scenario unless we come before him washed clean. And if you claim Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you can live on this earth with the hope that your experience at the throne results in an eternal “not guilty” verdict.

With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” (Isaiah 6:7)

Thank you Jesus for loving us, for your sacrifice, for your forgiveness making us clean, for being who you said you were, for showing us the way, for the hope that you bring. May we humble ourselves today before you in awe. Amen.