ISAIAH 38:17-19 – Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back. For Sheol does not thank you; death does not praise you; those who go down to the pit do not hope for your faithfulness. The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day; the father makes known to the children your faithfulness.
THEME OF THE DAY. PAINFUL TIMES ARE TO BE FRUITFUL TIMES. Let me encourage us to read what leads to today’s scripture – Isaiah 36, 37, and 38:1-18. It will help us see the difficulties King Hezekiah encountered leading him to acknowledge the good that God brought through his much-endured pain and bitterness. Now before we see the fruit God brought into his life from his pain, we need to see where we are in our attitudes and responses to painful times in our lives. There are two positions.
First, when God calls us to suffer, endure pain, and go through seasons of difficulties, we complain and attempt to control or change the circumstances causing the suffering, pain, and difficulties. Not good. Such attitudes and responses make us unteachable in the school of God’s discipleship. What He wants to do in us goes unfulfilled by our failing to see all things through God’s sovereignty and for our good.
The other response when God does “King Hezekiah work” in us through pain is willing submission with an attitude that says, “Lord, this hurts, but teach me through the pain. Here is the response that leads to significant spiritual growth and maturity in Christ.
So, back to the teachable king. What did Hezekiah learn from his season of bitterness? He saw beyond the pain to the loving heart of God – “it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction”. He was able to “cut through the fog” of his suffering to see the good hand of his God orchestrating all things for his good and coming from the heart and hands of divine love. Learn to think this way in suffering times. Learn to let the truths of God in who He is and how He treats us override those feelings that want to tell us the opposite.
Another lesson from King Hezekiah is the development of a thankful heart toward God in all things, even suffering times – “The living, the living, he thanks you, as I do this day.” This may very well be the height of spiritual maturity; living in the spirit of thanksgiving always. We find this exhortation throughout the scriptures. Here are two examples from the Apostle Paul – Give thanks in all things (Ephesians 5:20) and In everything give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:18). A thankful person recognizes God’s hand in everything and He is always working for His glory and our good. And always remember, painful times are to become fruitful times.”
PRAYER: “Father, please help me to see the fruit that grows in difficult times.”
QUOTE: “Don’t focus on the pain in a situation but the fruit produced in painful situations.”