Like women try on shoes, I’ve tried on many different responses to the challenges of life.
One time I tried sobbing in a fetal position on the floor, the bank statement in front of me, when I realized I had made a several-hundred-dollar error not in our favor.
I’ve tried being depressed and hopeless, which is always coupled with breaking into the chocolate chips.
I’ve tried worrying, pulling out the problem to examine it from every angle. Fret. Fret. Fret. Stomach acid churning. What if? What if? What if?
But I’ve finally found a response that fits.
Hezekiah models it for us in 2 Kings 19. Sennacherib sends a mocking note to King Hezekiah, telling him he has no chance of being delivered from destruction. “Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it. Then he went up to the temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord.” (2 Kings 19:14 NIV)
No fetal position.
He just spreads it out before the Lord and prays.
I’ve been reading through 2 Kings for a while now, and it’s one of the most discouraging books in the Bible. One king after another takes the throne and does evil in the sight of the Lord. How refreshing it is to get to Hezekiah and see, “Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord…” (2 Kings 18:5-6 NIV) Hezekiah was different, and he handled his life crises differently than the other kings.
It’s a pretty rare person these days who holds fast to the Lord in the middle of a crisis.
I want to be that person who gets hit hard by something and immediately tucks it back in the envelope, treks to the temple of the Lord (i.e., on my knees by my bed), and then spreads the problem out in front of Him.
I want to pray Hezekiah’s prayer:
“O Lord, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made the heaven and earth. Give ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; listen to the words Sennacherib has sent to insult the living God.” (2 Kings 19:15-16 NIV)
Hezekiah knows there is a more powerful throne than his.
Here’s the end of Hezekiah’s story: “That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning –there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there.” (2 Kings 19:35-36 NIV)
Hezekiah’s actions were effective.
The Lord went out and took care of things.
Crying and despair and anxiety only result in puffy eyes, insomnia, and diarrhea –not the effects I would hope for. I want the problem-solved kind of effect that Hezekiah witnessed.
So it’s a simple, disciplined action we can take in our minds –this spreading out of the problem before the Lord, along with verbal acknowledgment that He is the only one who can fix it.