Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, “Please Lord, remember how I have walked before You faithfully and wholeheartedly and have done what pleases You.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly. - 2 Kings 20:2-3
This chapter is titled ‘Hezekiah’s Illness.’ He’s just been told that he is so unwell, he is going to die. Things are looking so bleak that Isaiah recommends he gets his house in order.
I don’t know if you have ever been on the receiving end of devastating news. Perhaps you have - a terminal diagnosis, a chronic illness, a loss of someone you loved, an end to the life you knew. Maybe you know the sinking feeling of hearing your worst fears confirmed out loud. If you have, you might understand how Hezekiah feels in this moment and why turning his face to the wall makes complete sense. It’s a move of shock, denial and disappointment.
But Hezekiah doesn’t stop there. Through his weeping, he prays. In his reign as King, Hezekiah has followed God and trusted him. In his moment of pain, he is able to look back on his life and knows where he stands with God - that despite his illness, God is for him.
As much as the Bible is full of praise, miracles and reasons to be joyful, it’s a huge relief to me that it’s also full of characters who know hurt, pain, sickness and grief. You don’t have to look further than Jesus weeping for his friend Lazarus or crying in anguish before he was arrested to see that our God understands pain.
As Christians, we know that we are not exempt from sickness and mourning as we live our lives in this not in eden, not in heaven state. Sometimes when we find ourselves in a place of extreme sadness, we feel like all we can do is turn away and weep. Hezekiah reminds us to pray.
In those dark moments, do you know where you stand with God? Do you trust that in your most defeated, broken and painful moments, God hears you? That he is still pleased with you?
If you’re struggling to express your pain to God, read Romans 8:26 to understand better the role of the Holy Spirit in interceding for us.