Imagine a thirty-something man leaving the hospital so depressed after being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Nowhere else to go, he dropped to his knees and sobbed. His world crashed when the doctor told him he has a few days to live.
What would you do if you are facing the same situation?
What difference would it make in how you lived now: Save more money for loved ones? Spend more time with your children and wife? Call a estate planning lawyer to settle your will and testament? Spend the few hours of writing notes and letters of gratitude for loved ones? Devote your time to church and other charity works?
Hezekiah will not recover from terminal illness
Death happens to everyone—some, sooner than others. Terminal illness is certainly a tough and horrible experience you can ever imagined as you count your remaining days. Interestingly, the Bible is not silent about how a certain man had asked God and how he responded with this kind of situation.
Hezekiah, one of the most prominent kings of Judah, was in grief and distressed. Prophet Isaiah came to him not for pastoral visit or to pray for him as a king but to tell him to put his house in order because he has an incurable disease. In the midst of his reign, he became ill and is about to die (2 Kings 20:1-7). What a frightful message from a prophet!
Isaiah’s message was very depressing: King Hezekiah will not recover. The exact nature of Hezekiah’s illness was not stated, but in our modern times it could be compared to a cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
Therefore, King Hezekiah’s death was certainly imminent: maybe in the next few months, weeks, or may be he would have just one day to live. To put his house in order means saying goodbye about his impending death.
It is difficult to spend the remaining time of his life while setting things in order so that the entire family would know what to do when he’s gone. He could not bear to die seeing his kingdom without successor as his son Manasseh is just twelve years old.
To make things worst, the timing is also unbearable as his illness occurs during Sennacherib’s (the King of Assyria) campaign against Judah. Moreover, the reformation he initiated has just commenced and he has so much things to do as leader of Judah. Knowing his life is numbered, it must be a painful experience as no one wants to die.
Even good people are not exempted from trials and illness
Hezekiah was a very good king in contrast to his father King Ahaz. In 2 Kings 18 his character was described: He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord (v. 3), he removed the high places or idol worshiping (v. 4), he trusted in the Lord (v. 5), he held fast to the Lord (v. 6), he kept his commandments (v. 6), the Lord was with him (v. 7), he rebelled against king of Assyria (v. 7), and he defeated the Philistines (v. 8).
In addition, Ellen G. White in her book Prophets and Kings has an interesting comment about King Hezekiah’s bold reformation and restoration of true worship in the temple.
“Hezekiah came to the throne determined to do all in his power to save Judah from the fate that was overtaking the northern kingdom. In the crisis, Hezekiah proved to be a man of opportunity. He first turned his attention to the restoration of the temple services, so long neglected; and in this work he earnestly solicited the co-operation of a band of priests and Levites who had remained true to their sacred calling.”
You might asked how did a good king like Hezekiah had stricken with a terminal disease? We’ve all heard it numerous times: why God allows bad things to happen to good people like Hezekiah?
The simple answer is we are living in a sinful world. Understanding God’s purpose about the mystery of his illness takes a lot of courage and faith. Whatever the result is, leave it all to Him. Faith in God does not guarantee being free from difficulties in life, rather preparing you for eternal life.
Never underestimate the power of prayer
Hezekiah was grieving in his own bedroom. His trusted officers, advisers, and physicians who were also so much worried at the impending death of their godly king assured their assistance and comfort. However, at this point in time, he decided to be alone to pray without interruption. God has been his help in crisis many times.
Hezekiah is also a human weakened by maladies like you and me. 2 Kings chapter 20 reminded us how he talked with God, “Remember, Oh Lord, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes” (v. 3). Its human nature to reflect and search the soul for troubled heart. Most of the time, when horrible things occur, the first phase of denial is replaced with bargaining.
When my father-in-law had a stroke my wife who was fifteen years old then, prayed to God. Her father was brought to the hospital. She loved him so much and plead to God to spare his life. She even prayed if possible to take the ten years of her life and to give to his father in order to extend his life. We call it bargaining.
You begin to promise that if God will spare your life or your loved ones, you will be able spending precious moment to rectify your relationship with God and others.
I have heard your prayer and seen your tears
God revealed to prophet Isaiah his plan to heal King Hezekiah and so God instructed him to go back to the king and tell the good news. He must be very excited to see the king! The Lord told Isaiah that he has heard King Hezekiah’s prayer and seen his tears and the Lord will heal him (2 Kings 20:5).
What a powerful message to God’s children who are suffering from adversities and have shed many tears. The Living God has heard your cry and has seen your tears. Though the storms of life are continually changing, but God remains the same.
When you are about to give up, remember that God determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name (Psalm 147:4). The incidents in your life may seem trivial but there is not any moment in your life uncared by the Father as even the very hairs of your head are all numbered (Matthew 10:30). When we know that God loves us, we know that everything is going to be fine.
Hezekiah’s prayer to extend his life was answered. Its not just one day, but the Lord has added another fifteen years to his life. Faith gives us the assurance that whatever lies before us is known to God and under His control.
JUN AMPARO is the author of OMG! OFW’s Money is Gone: Practical Tips on How to Be Wise with Your Hard-earned Money which was featured at GMA News Online. Being an OFW for over a decade, he’s aware about the common financial challenges of many Overseas Filipino Workers.
Jun is investing in mutual funds and stock market for over three- years and conducts financial literacy seminar.
Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, (Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Pub. Assn., 1940), p. 331.
All Scripture passages are from the New International Version.
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