But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen (Isaiah 37:26a NLT).
Friend to Friend
My daughter told me she was tired of people telling her to trust God. She had begged Him to make her hair grow back after her alopecia diagnosis. Despite years of prayers, though, she remained completely bald with no eyelashes or eyebrows. She knew all the Sunday School answers about God’s love and power. But her real-life circumstances caused her to question why a God who loved her and had the power to heal her… didn’t. She wondered if the Lord was unable or unwilling. Your situation may vary greatly from my daughter’s, but perhaps you can recall a season in your life when you struggled to trust God’s timing.
When God doesn’t act quickly enough for us, we can revert to striving in our human strength to gain our desired result rather than seeking postures that position us for trust. For me that often looks like freaking out, excessive planning, shutting down.
King Hezekiah shows us one example of what it looks like to trust God’s plan even when we face circumstances that threaten our security. His small nation of Judah faced threats from Assyria. The Assyrian army was huge and the commander spoke threatening words to incite fear and undermine trust in Yahweh,the God of Israel. Recorded in the book of Isaiah, he said:
- Words of prayer won’t help you against military might. (36:5-6)
- God is mad at you. (36:7)
- God called our nation to punish you. (36:10)
- Your leaders can’t be trusted. (36:14-16)
- Slavery is the best option for you. (36:16)
These tactics remind us of those used by another enemy of the Lord. Like the field commander, Satan often uses one argument after another hoping to leave his victims feeling hopeless and helpless. I doubt your attackers have come in the form of physical armies shouting threats, but perhaps your inner dialogue has included some version of these same lies.
- Make a back-up plan in case God doesn’t come through.
- God is mad at you for messing up so you can’t count on Him.
- Your spiritual leaders can’t be trusted. They probably have their own agendas.
- Slavery to sin is normal, you’ll never overcome these temptations.
- No one else has won these battles so neither will you.
Lies of the enemy evidence themselves in a variety of ways. When our circumstances feel urgent, waiting on the Lord doesn’t always seem like the most prudent posture. So, what should we do during the time between the threat of trouble and God’s rescue?
Hezekiah didn’t blame others, negotiate alliances, or seek creature comforts. Instead, he put on scratchy clothes and prayed. This was a serious threat. Hezekiah didn’t put on a happy face and pretend everything was fine. His faith in God led Him to mourn, ask for prayer, and seek God’s Word through the prophet Isaiah.
My daughter was bald for more than five years. During that time, she worked through her questions and doubts. Sometimes her prayers were raw and full of anguish. Other times they acknowledged God’s character and sovereignty in her life. She got to a place where she believed God was good and powerful even if she never had hair. Hezekiah also prayed holding trouble in one hand but acknowledging God’s blessing in another.
Through the prophet Isaiah, the Lord assured the king of victory. He said, “But have you not heard? I decided this long ago. Long ago I planned it, and now I am making it happen” (Isaiah 37:26a NLT). God answered Hezekiah’s prayer assuring him of victory over his enemies. He responds to ours as well. When God plans things (even if they were long ago), He will make them happen.
God sent an angel into the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers (Isaiah 37:36). The Lord intervened according to His plan, and yet at the same time responded to Hezekiah’s prayer. I wonder if Hezekiah would look back on his season of trouble and acknowledge an intimacy with God that desperation can produce.
While waiting seasons aren’t usually my favorite, they are a place where trust can grow.
We can trust God in our seasons of waiting knowing that He is working even when we don’t feel it. In between our problem and God’s rescue, we can trust more and strive less through prayer.
Lord, help me to wait patiently and expectantly. When troubles threaten my trust in You, remind me to pray, seek Your Word, and enlist spiritual support instead of freaking out and planning excessively. I know Your calendar is better than mine. Help me to live that truth when the tyranny of the urgent overwhelms me.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
What stood out to you from Hezekiah’s responses to trouble that you might be able to incorporate in your life?
More from the Girlfriends
Check out Melissa’s new Bible study titled Isaiah: Striving Less and Trusting God More for an in-depth study of the book of Isaiah.
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