Today, as the tears of heartache and worry for Happy who was so sick that he stopped eating, drinking, and walking for over 12 hours. We have already lost at least 9 family members, including my father and grandmother, in less than 3 years. This year my mother has been in and out of the hospital multiple times with uncontrolled blood pressure that was climbing over 200. Last month both of her sibling gave us a scare after ending up in the hospital within a couple of weeks of each other. And once more, before we had a chance to recuperate from one loss, we were facing the very real possibility of losing our little Happy pup. With a sea of tears we have been presenting our petition to God day and night that He might, if it would not cause Happy greater harm, raise him up, and give us more time with him.
Over and over we lifted our hearts up to God as we poured out the unspoken sorrow of our heart to His patient ear. Even though we trust Him, it has been a struggle to place Happy fully in God’s hands. When we looked at the heartbreak of the past couple of years, coming so close that one scar could not heal before another wound pierced our heart, it was so easy to hold back and say Lord, you must heal Happy. To point to our many losses, our financial insecurity, and say Lord, how can you let us endure another blow. If you love us, You have to heal Happy.
But would that really be putting things in God’s hands? No, sadly that would be saying God, even though You know what is best, You can do what you know is best as long as it what we think is best. For a moment this might work out. For a moment it might save us from the sea of tears caused by the ache that was tearing our heart to pieces. But in the long run, when the danger or sorrow that the Lord was trying to save us finally came our way, the little ache of today, would be a thousand fold worse.
Hard as it was, we had to remind ourselves that God, tender father that He is, longs to keep us from heartache. And that before He allows any sorrow to come our way, He weighs it out to determine what we can handle, and what is for our best and the best of those around us. That unlike us, He sees the beginning from the end, and sometimes He like he did with King Hezekiah, He makes painful choices. How much better would things have been for Hezekiah, who at the time was a hero of faith, if like King David, he had bowed his head in acceptance of God’s word.
Oh how hard it must have been for Him to hear the sad proclamation that he was going to die from his ailment, especially knowing that he was without an heir. But at that moment he would have died with an untarnished record of faith. His record would have been one of trust and faith in His Lord in a time of great trial and tribulation.
But instead of trusting that the God who knows the beginning from the end, might be trying to save him from some unseen danger, pointed to his record as reason to why God should answer my prayer. King Hezekiah got his way. He got 15 more years of life, but at what cost? God knew that King Hezekiah was in danger of losing his faith. Flushed with his great victory of faith, King Hezekiah probably felt invincible. At that moment he might honestly have believed that nothing could get between him and God. And he might have imagined all the things He could and would do should God raise Him.
But while he did not see his danger, God did. And preferring to have a sleeping saint rather than a live sinner, God had made the hard choice to say no to healing him from his disease. It must have been with a heavy heart that God answered Hezekiah’s petition to look at his record and raise him up. He knew that when the cutting test of pride came his way, Hezekiah would fail.
Sadly, when the Babylonian representatives came to find out more about the miracle of the sundial moving backwards 10 degrees, Hezekiah forgot all about God. Instead of pointing them to the Great Healer, and telling them about the mighty maker of heaven and earth who not only had the power to hold the sun in place for a whole day or move it backwards 10 degrees, but also had the power to change men’s hearts, he showed them his great wealth.
Hezekiah had been given one of the greatest witnessing opportunities ever given to man. What other king, including King Solomon, had such a prestigious delegation from a budding super power knocking at their door practically begging to hear a sermon? Truly this was one of those moments when we could set back and wonder how different this world’s history might have been if King Hezekiah had proven true instead of giving way to pride and without one word of thanks or gratitude to God, squandered a golden opportunity to witness to the leader of the kingdom who would a few years latter be represented by the head of gold!
How different might the history of our world been if instead of showing off his wealth, King Hezekiah had spoken of the greatness of the God who raised him from his death bed and as a token of his word moved back the sundial by 10 degrees as easily as one leads a puppy. Never before or after was there such a moment to touch hearts as when that delegation, awed by the great miracle, were actively seeking to learn about a God so powerful that he could alter the course of time. At that moment their hearts were open to hearing and being impressed by the words of life. If Hezekiah had remained grateful, and spoken words of praise and gratitude to God, who knows how many members of that prestigious delegation might have given their heart to God. What a mighty witness for truth Hezekiah could have been. Only when the books of Heaven are opened, and God pulls back the curtain of history to reveal what might have been if that delegation had been able to bring back words of life to their king instead of visions of silver and gold, will we find out how the history of Israel and Babylon might have been forever altered. Instead of becoming an enemy of God and his people from which the call must be made Babylon is fallen, is fallen, come out of her my people, Babylon might have become a bastion of truth.
While this is a more sever example of the dangers of demanding God give way to our wants and desires, there is always great danger in seeking to pull things out of God’s hands and trying to force Him to do our will. Like Job in his suffering, he had no way of knowing that his misery was due to the cruel desire of the devil to bring him to his knees and tear him from the side of God. Right now the curtain between our world and the Heavenly realm is closed to us, and we cannot see how the hard the devil like a thief is seeking to pass the wall of protection that God has raised up so that he might steal us from God’s side. As overwhelming as today’s tears might seem, we have no way of knowing what greater pain and suffering the devil is longing to bring upon us if given the opportunity.
It is not easy to accept the tears of today. When faces with the painful, but purifying fire of tribulation, it is very easy to do as King Hezekiah and say Lord I want you to do things my way. It is so easy to lose sight of the fact that in this moment of pain, we are not the only ones shedding tears. But that as tender and loving father, the arms of God are wrapped around us, holding us up, even carrying us through the trial. And that His tears are mingled with our own.