How do you recognize a really bad day? Someone said you would have a really bad day if you woke up to discover your waterbed broke, but you don’t have a waterbed. Or, if your birthday cake collapsed from the weight of the candles and your twin sister forgot it was your birthday. Most of us don’t need help identifying a really bad day. We’ve experienced storms firsthand. These storms have no favorites; no one is excused. Rich and poor, young and old alike are affected.
In Jeremiah 29:11 God declares, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” We may know the verse, but often in the midst of our storm, it feels like we’re sinking and there’s no hope or future ahead. Perhaps that’s where you are today. If so, let me share a story of hope with you.
In 2 Kings 19, King Hezekiah of Judah found himself in a huge storm. Sennacherib, King of the great superpower— Assyria, was on Judah’s doorstep ready for his final assault. Judah was no match for Assyria which had already captured 46 cities and was now just outside Jerusalem. Hezekiah knew if he was captured he would be tortured to death. But this was only part of his problem. While Judah was being dismantled by the Assyrians, Hezekiah had fallen seriously ill. The message God sent him was not encouraging, “Put your house in order, because you are going to die, you will not recover.” Sometimes, “when it rains, it pours.” Can you identify?
Hezekiah was devastated. He felt like a mother about to deliver her baby, but with no strength left to even push. Have you ever been there? Cried until there were no more tears left? Hezekiah may have had reasons to throw in the towel, but he soon realized that with God there is always hope. What a powerful message for each of us to remember. No matter how downcast you are or how alone you may feel, just remember, with God there is always hope.
Let me share with you some steps to victory based on Hezekiah’s actions in 2 Kings 19.
Step 1– Examine your life for unconfessed sin.
Not all problems in our life are caused by sin, but sin always causes problems in our life. So first we must examine our heart.
Step 2– Encourage your heart with God’s promises.
Aren’t you glad we have God’s promises? When we face trials, most of us need an attitude change. Instead of feeling hopeless, we need to feel hopeful. Meditating on God’s promises will give us hope. So consider getting a promise box.
Step 3– Enlarge your faith through fervent prayer.
Don’t stop your fellowship with God when problems strike; instead increase your prayer life. As your faith grows, you will come to realize how big God is. Then, “you won’t tell God how big your problem is; you’ll tell your problem how big God is.”
Step 4–Exhibit patience as you await God’s intervention.
God does not operate on our timetable, “He’s an on time God.” 1 Cor. 10:13 is a great promise. Take time to read it.
A few years ago, we visited the Museum of Science and Technology in Chicago. One of the exhibits was an incubator with chicken eggs. Chicks had broken free from some of the shells, but in some cases the chicks were struggling to get out. This laborious process required about 10 hours of struggle before each little chick entered the world. But if someone felt sorry for the little chick and tried to save her struggle by making an escape hole in the shell, the chick would not survive. The process of struggle and strain develops the muscles that chicks need to survive.
God does have a good plan for you. So he has designed storms perfectly sized so that you will develop the spiritual muscles needed to achieve His purpose. So trust Him. He will not disappoint! Never forget, God is working out His plan for your life.