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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

When God Doesn't Act Like We Think He Should

20 In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, “This is what the Lord says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” 2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, 3 “Remember, Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.  [2 Kings 20:1-3]

Hezekiah was one of the few "good kings" after the golden age of David and Solomon. He had removed the high places that were part of the idol worship, which none of even the good kings had done before him. He had destroyed the bronze snake which the people had begun to worship. [It is so easy to shift our focus on the symbols of worship and what God has done, rather than keep them focused on God.] Hezekiah even restored the celebration of the Passover.   It was during the time that Hezekiah ruled the Southern kingdom that the Assyrians destroyed the Northern kingdom of Israel. When the invading Assyrians move south to take Jerusalem, Hezekiah laid the letter of contempt from the Assyrians before the Lord in prayer and sought God's counsel through the prophet Isaiah. God delivered them from certain destruction for His honor and glory, killing 185,000 Assyrian soldiers.

One would think that after all that that the blessing on king Hezekiah was unshakable, but in 2 Kings 20:1-3 [see above] we read that just when everything was going great, the king was struck with a terminal illness.  Hezekiah responded just as many of us would have: "God, look at all the good things I have done! How could you let this happen? You destroyed the Assyrian army because I trusted in You, even when few believed, and this is the way You reward those who trust in You and are obedient? I thought You loved me, I thought You were protecting me; now this is how You respond to all my faithfulness?"

On the surface it doesn't seem fair. If we are disobedient we expect punishment, but if we are obedient, we expect blessing.  Now, out of nowhere God throws us a curve ball and we strike out. Hezekiah's response was to pout. He seemed justified in responding like he did, so what is the matter?  The problem lies in our lack of knowledge of the future. Hezekiah is granted 16 years of life as a gracious and mericful response to his prayer. However, the events that occur during and after these years are nothing but tragedy. Hezekiah, himself, becomes full of pride and completely loses God's perspective. Yes, God answered Hezekiah's prayer and healed him, but in hindsight it would have been better not to have been healed [though we will never know how that might have even played out.]. When Hezekiah dies, Manasseh, his son, becomes king and is more evil than the kings of the area that the Israelites had despossesed when they left Egypt.

What should be our response? Jesus is our example: In the garden the night before His death, he prayed, "Father, let this cup pass, but never the less, Your will be done."  God does not owe us anything. His grace and mercy through His salvation is far beyond anything we could ever deserve; His provision and protection is beyond our comprehension. We can trust His hand, even when difficulties arise, as we look through the lense of the cross, we know God is in control and that He has our best interests at heart.

We can be serving God faithfully, even seeing growth in our ministry and out of nowhere receive a medical report that ends with the word, "cancer." We can be doing the best we can and get a phone call from the pastor that the deacons have met and our services will no longer be needed. One of our children can run away from home and the list could go on and on. Misplaced priorities can result in marriage breakups, or we can do other things whose consequences lead to failure as well. What do we do? Where is God?  

God is where He has always been: on His throne and in control, full of mercy and love. As someone once said, "when the train goes through a tunnel, I must trust the engineer, even though there is nothing be darkness around me." God still has His hands on the controls, and we can trust His that regardless what happens, He can use it for our good and His glory. He is the ultimate expert at turning tragedy into a triumph for His glory.

It is easy for me to sit back and say these words while I type at my computer; it is another thing  when I get the phone call. However, I must trust in the faithfulness of God's character and His Word, which promises me He is in control. "We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose." [Rom. 8:28 HCB]

So, we have a choice we have to make. We can choose to believe our circumstances, or we can take those circumstances to God in prayer asking for His wisdom, His grace, and that His will be done. When the tragedy strikes, we must go back and rehearse, repeat God's truth in the situation: the wreck or whatever did occur, but God is bigger than then event, or circumstances. God loves me, and those involved. God is in control. We can trust Him to be able to use this for our good and His glory. We can give Him thanks in [not necesarially for - 1 Thess. 5:18] all things.

When God doesn't act like we think He should, we can continue to pretend to be God and tell Him where He is making mistakes, or we can learn to let Him be God and get to know Him through the event. We can learn to know Him deeper only as we walk with Him through these difficult circumstances of life. I would not know Him as Healer, until I or my love one was healed. I would not know Him as Rock and Fortress, if I hadn't gone through the storm. I would know have known Him as Teacher, unless I had not walked through confusion and doubt.

I pray that God would help us all to respond rightly to the difficulties of daily living, as well as when the bottom drops out of everything we know. Regardless of what may happen we know that God is  there, and we can trust Him.


  1. Thanks for this awesome article. There are temples, churches and special places to worship God but he who knows that God is everywhere doesn't really need those places. He can worship right where he is currently standing.


  2. Thanks, Brano, for the comments. God bless as you continue in worshiping Him!