2 Kings 20:1 “In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.”
My mother’s mom was a jovial, giving sort of woman. I remember Sunday visits after church when we would take the long journey up the stairs to her upper flat. The smell of bacon cooking hit you as you opened the door and wet your appetite for a wonderful spread of goodies – including donuts from the bakery across the street.
She made our stay there fun. We would climb into her lap as she would tell us stories and read books. It hit me hard the day she passed away. It was my first taste of death. It was hard losing someone close. I can remember the funeral and the wake that followed. It was a Polish tradition to gather at a hall and celebrate their homegoing to heaven.
I loved my grandmother but was too young to truly understand why it was that we should celebrate. I wondered much about life and death and about God.
I felt the same confusion when I read this passage. Isaiah had come to king Hezekiah by God’s direction and told him it was his time to die. It would be considered quite an honor for us to be approached by God and have him tell is that our time of departure was near. But Hezekiah wasn’t ready to go just yet.
He presented his case to God and God granted him his request of fifteen years. It was in that time that the king did something that, in time, would plunge all of Israel into bondage. I cannot help but think that if Hezekiah would have known that, he would have chosen differently.
I believe we are often faced with the same situations and circumstances in our lifetime.
God’s commands are there for many reasons.
Some are for our protection. Others to show our love to Him through obedience. Still others that reveal His nature to us and help us to draw closer, and get to know Him better. Still others are there to grow our faith. The underlying principle is that they are there because He loves us – wholly, deeply, and completely!
Knowing that, it makes it easier when we do not understand, when we just cannot comprehend or make sense of what it is God is doing in our lives. He invites us to trust.
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
He promises to guide us:
Psalms 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”
He tells us that the faith by which we trust pleases Him.
Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
I may not have known it then or have been taught properly, but when it didn’t make sense that my grandmother died, I needed to trust that God knew exactly what He was doing.
There are times in our life when we will look up to Heaven and ask “Why?” So very often when I do, I hear nothing in return. I try to make sense out of it and there have been times when I finally come to the conclusion; “I may not understand just what You are doing, but I am going to trust that it will all work out for my good in the end.”
Some of those times cut so deeply. The pain caused is hard to bear. The devastation and destruction cannot be reconciled with our view or understanding of who God is. We say things like;
“A loving God would never…” or
“If God loved me, why would He allow this to happen?”
The danger of this type of thinking is that we put ourselves in the place of God and try to imagine making the same decision. Essentially, we become God.
A loved one’s health declines or suffers devasting blow that will alter their quality of life and we pray for healing. We try to pray them well. We beg God to take away the pain and let us have them back to be just like it was. It is then that we must seek what it is God wants us to pray for. We may pray for healing and God may just answer that prayer – but in the way we think.
We call it the ‘ultimate healing’. That suffering one may very well be made whole and brought into the presence of God in answer to our prayer. We may not recognize it then, but our selfishness comes through when we read:
Psalms 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.”
In 2001, my Mom passed away when she was struck with what the doctors told us later was strep pneumonia. We were all devastated, shocked and left wondering;
He showed me this verse in answer to my prayer. I responded;
“What is so precious about death?”
He said, ‘Read it again…’
It was then that “…in the sight of the Lord” jumped out at me.
It was precious to Him.
Then I thought, could I relinquish my hold on wanting my Mom to stay and allow God to have her knowing it would please Him?
It all made much more sense when I, in faith, trusted God to do what He would do and accept the fact that He was in control – not me.
That decision to trust will never be a ‘one and done’, or ‘set it and forget it’ type of decision. It is ongoing. We have to make that decision to trust Him daily, hourly, moment by moment; situation by situation. And when we forget, He lovingly brings us back to the decision point of faith – “Will you trust me?”
Our daily prayer should be one of thanksgiving. “Thank you Father, for faith to trust You. Thank you for the opportunity to see You work in my life. Help me to give You the glory and testify to all who will hear of the wondrous things You’ve done and will do in my life.”
Had king Hezekiah allowed God’s will to play out, who knows what may have happened. He would have gotten his house in order and prepared those around him for his departure. It might have been that God had a different person to succeed him on the throne. Manasseh was only twelve when he took over his father’s reign.
That means, he was born after God’s proclamation. God heard Hezekiah’s prayer and answered it knowing full well what Manasseh would be to Judah and His people.
Looking back, we must conclude that “My Father knows best!” Time after time, He has proven Himself faithful. Whatever you are facing today, God wants us to trust Him completely.