by: carole l. haines
We have all had devastating news come to us before in a letter, perhaps an e-mail. Even worse, is when it is by phone, or there is that late-night knock at the front door. The dread of such moments can hang over us like a cloud, threatening a lightning strike, hail, and extreme winds. The storms of our lives can come sudden and swift, like a tornado, leaving nothing but devastation, heartbreak, and confusion in their wake. This happened to many in the Bible. Below is written the response of King Hezekiah, when devastating news came to him about his people and his kingdom. If you can, read the whole story in 2 King’s 19 to get the back-drop for the story. This is Hezekiah’s prayer:
14 Then Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it, and he went up to the house of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. 15 Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, You are the God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. 16 Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. 17 Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have devastated the nations and their lands 18 and have cast their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone. So they have destroyed them. 19 Now, O Lord our God, I pray, deliver us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You alone, O Lord, are God.” (2 King’s 19)
When devastation comes into our lives like a fierce storm, God is our Strong Tower in which to run for protection from the onslaught. There are times the storm is so frightening, and we feel so overwhelmed, that we just sit there waiting for it to destroy us. But King Hezekiah knew that all of his people were looking to him for help. He knew it was so far out of his reach to deliver them. He prayed a humble prayer, but more than that, he spread out the letter, sent to him by an enemy, before the Lord His God. We need to take these pieces of correspondence, and physically carry them to our prayer rooms and spread them out before the Lord. In such times, if you don’t journal, start journaling. The Lord will hear you from on High, and answer. Journaling will document the deliverance of the Lord for you, and it can be read again and again. That is what this is, Hezekiah’s private prayer to God, when all seemed lost, written out before the Lord. If you are in a storm today, take that letter, or that journal entry, and spread it out before the Lord. It is too big for you, but not for Him. I will close with one of my favorite prayers from Scripture in such times.
O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me. 2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me. 3 O Israel, hope in the Lord From this time forth and forever. (Psalm 131)