In perhaps the most famous commissioning of all time, Isaiah uttered this phrase: “Here I am! Send me.” And God sent him (Isaiah 6). But Isaiah isn’t the only one who chose this phrase. It occurs in shocking frequency:
Abraham said “Here I am,” in response to the Lord… more than once.
Isaac said this to Abraham.
Samuel said it to Eli three times (when it was the Lord who was calling him) — and he was made prophet over the people of Israel.
Jacob used this response with God before he was given a vision.
Joseph used this phrase with his father Jacob, and it was his last interaction before his brothers sold him into slavery, sent to prison, then interpreted dreams and made 2nd only to Pharaoh in all the land of Egypt.
Moses responded this way to God when he called to him from a burning bush — and was sent to rescue a nation of people.
Ananias (who was sent to Paul) spoke these exact words to God as well.
Isn’t that interesting? And here’s the thing that gets me about Isaiah… when he spoke these words, he offered himself up even before he knew what God was going to ask of him. Sometimes I wonder if in our deep desire to live a life of purpose and depth and meaning, we complicate obedience. Knowing our personalities and giftings and inclinations is super healthy, but let’s not overlook the simple action of offering ourselves up. Let’s not assume it, but say it. And let’s not say it if we don’t mean it. Maybe your best next step is to sit quietly before the Lord and whisper, “Here I am.” Willing availability. Unwavering trust in a God who prepares us and positions us to step into assignment with feet fitted with the readiness of the gospel of peace. It doesn’t have to be loud or showy, we don’t have to flag down God’s attention… he sees you. A quick glance at that list above tells me that those individuals who made themselves available did tremendous things. And the list gets really long if we include those who offered availability outside of this exact phrasing.
The beauty is that God declares this back to his people.
“Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’” — Isaiah 58:9
“Jesus said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me.’” — John 8:42 (emphasis mine).
Someone once asked me if I thought I had “found God.” The truth was that he wasn’t hiding. It wasn’t He that needed to be uncovered, but my heart that needed to be awakened. He promises that when we seek him with all of our hearts, he will be found by us. It’s not a maybe, it’s a promise. We do not have to search with hearts wondering if he speaks or if he will be found, but with hearts awakened in eager expectation, because he calls us to come.
I believe we were made to know Him. It’s the core purpose we were intended for. And when we know him, we love him. When we love him, we trust him. When we trust him, we obey him… and when we offer our “Here I am,” he delights in writing great adventures that ripple into eternity. And we can say, “Here I am,” because he has already whispered, “I am here.”