Ever had bad news? I wonder what your first reaction was, I know that mine is not always what it should be.
When Hezekiah got the written message, he read it. Then he took it to the temple, spread it out before the Eternal One,
To set the scene, the Assyrian empire is cutting a swathe across the world, conquering nations left right and centre. they have turned their attention to Jerusalem and are camped outside ready to invade. The commander has shouted up to the people in the city telling them they are doomed, and not to think they can trust in God because Hezekiah has destroyed all His altars and He is mad at them. No gods can save them from the Assyrian army. The commander is conducting a well honed campaign of demoralisation before the physical attack begins. He sent Hezekiah a letter reminding him of all the kingdoms, kings and peoples the Assyrian king has already destroyed.
I can imagine Hezekiah opening the letter, swallowing hard as his face lost all colour, fighting back the urge to panic and taking the letter to God. I have to admire him for that, which is why I am sharing this, that is the perfect reaction. Nothing wrong with feeling shock, having that first wave of ‘oh no what now?’ He didn’t stay there though, he moved directly to a place of security and safety. He went to pray, to petition, to ask God for His plan.
There’s an old hymn, a beautiful hymn that tells me to do the same.
Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer!
What a Friend we have in Jesus by J M Scriven
The truth is, as Hezekiah says to God in his prayer, the Assyrians are insulting God so it is His business to deal with them. My bad news is God’s business too, He’s promised to keep me in perfect peace. He’s promised to bear my burdens. He’s told me not to worry and this is why – because I died and my life is now hidden with Christ in God. If only I could grasp what that really means for longer than a few minutes how different my life would be. Think about it, temptation would not be able to get a fingerhold because I am hidden with Christ in God and there’s no way anything ungodly gets in there. Bad tempered replies would not happen because I am hidden with Christ in God so all I say must somehow filter out through God and He is love. When I look at the world, at people and situations I really would be looking with God’s eyes, hearing with His ears because – yes you got it – I am hidden with Christ IN God.
That’s why I take it to Him in prayer because prayer puts me right in His Presence, or actually reminds me I am always in His Presence. A good place to be with the best, most faithful friend I could ever ask for.