What suffering are you up against right now? What has been the worst suffering you have personally experienced in your life? What is the worst suffering you have ever heard about on this earth? Is there worse suffering in the world than you have personally experienced? Can you say about your suffering? Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back. (Isaiah 38:17)? Now that is quite a conclusion to draw after personal suffering.
Those words are quoted from the prayer of King Hezekiah after his fatal illnessand miraculous recovery. King Hezekiah was one of the rare Kings of Judah whoput his faith in God above everything else he could cling to for security. Theopposite of his father, King Ahaz, he did what was right in the eyes of God andled Judah to see the hand of God save their dwindling, defenseless country fromthe control of the King of Assyria—the world ruler at the time.
The king, who had once threatened King Hezekiah lie dead in the temple of thefalse god he counted on, slain by the sword of two of his own sons. All seemedright with the world when suddenly the good guy, King Hezekiah, was at death’sdoor himself. The one thing you don’t want to happen when you are terminalis the holy man telling you to get your house in order. But that’s whathappened, God sent Isaiah, the same prophet who encouraged Hezekiah to sit stilland wait on God when the Assyrians were pressing in, to tell Hezekiah that hewould die from his illness. That was not the news he wanted to hear, rather thanaccept his fate, he stormed the throne of God asking for mercy and healing.
God sent Isaiah back to King Hezekiah and told him that God heard his prayerand would heal him from the incurable disease. Not only did God send a personalpromise, but He also gave him a supernatural sign that he would be healed bycausing the sunlight to cast a reverse shadow. What an amazing experience KindHezekiah had on this earth. He learned from the mistakes of his father and tookthe God of Israel at His Word. He led the nation to lay all their stakes in God’sdeliverance rather than make alliances with other countries. At the time thatGod had numbered enough days for him to live in this world, Hezekiah asked formore and God conceded to his plan.
King Hezekiah lived fifteen years longer on this earth as God promised him. Iwonder whether when he finally reached heaven’s gates, he regretted hisrequest for longer life. What King Hezekiah does teach me is that even thoughall of us face suffering (some face degrees of suffering that seems unimaginable),that there is a greater purpose beyond it all. King Hezekiah saw his sufferingthis way.
It was only through allowing the world to continue in spite of suffering thatGod has been working out His plan of redemption. His goal is to redeem the entireworld and eliminate suffering completely. We may never be able to explain oursuffering, but we can see the benefit of our life on earth; it gives us opportunityto know Jesus and accept His redeeming work in our lives. Suffering and sin willbe completely eradicated from our lives someday. Before this happens sufferingdoes have the power to draw us closer to God and rely on Him as our hope fora way out of suffering.