Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Letters

"Incline Thine ear, O Lord, and hear; open Thine eyes, O Lord, and see..."
Isaiah 37:17
(KJV)

I sighed a deep, from-the-heart sigh,
as I opened yet another bill.
This one was unexpected.
Out of the blue.
It caught us off-guard.
Tested the solidity of our dependence upon God....
and our faith.


It didn't surprise our Provider, Jehovah Jireh.
He saw it coming.
He watched as the statement was printed,
stuffed in the envelope with a return envelope,
added to the pile of outgoing mail,
then dropped at the post office.

God's eyes followed that bill right to the white mailbox that stands at the end of our driveway.
He watched as Zachary ran out to get it, then ran it back in to me.
He saw my countenance wince all the way in to a full-blown frown,
as my heart sank to the floor wondering where in the world 
we would find a place to pull money for another bill.
Granted, we have become pretty skilled jugglers through the years.  :~)
Juggling the money right out of "Peter's" hands, to pay "Paul",
then turning around and juggling them back the opposite way....
keeping the wolf away from the door....
well, you get the picture.

Can't most of us relate?

Somehow, the money has always been there.
Always.
We've certainly never starved.
I don't think I could ever be accused of having missed too many meals.  :~)
We have always had clothes on our backs and shoes on our feet
and a roof over our heads.

God has never failed.

So, why did I become so worried when I saw another bill
that autumn day a few years ago?
I sat down at the kitchen table and stared at it for a long time....
the wheels in my mind turning and human reasoning kicking into overdrive.

You can't squeeze blood from a turnip, right?
If you have this amount of money,
and the bills add up to beyond that amount,
things just don't calculate.
Something has to go unpaid, right?

Not in God's economy, it doesn't.

God's economy defies our way of thinking.
Human logic,
human mathematical standards,
human law....
all of it is....well.....human.
Human is flawed.
Human is deficient.
Human is imperfect, inadequate, faulty, incomplete, inferior.

Aren't you glad our hope is not in our human selves?
That there is a Higher Power?
That our hope is built in Him and upon His power to deliver?


God's ways of supplying our needs are beyond human reasoning.
They don't have to fit into our "in-the-box" molds.
He thinks out of our pathetic boxes...
way out of the box.

If we comprehended just the tiniest portion of His greatness,
His capability,
His power...
we would never worry again.
We wouldn't struggle.
We would automatically know that He can do all things,
and there is no need for us to ever be anxious....about anything.

Right in the midst of my inward turmoil, my fretting, and mental finagling,
I heard the voice of my Shepherd.
His precious, welcome, calming still, small voice....
reminding me of Hezekiah.

I love his story.
It blesses me every time I read it, no matter how many times I've read it before.
What do you think of when you hear the name, Hezekiah?
Undoubtedly, your mind, like mine, goes to the fact that God was ready to take his life,
how He sent Isaiah to go tell him to get his house in order,
how he turned his face to the wall and reminded God of the faithful life he had lived,
how God changed His mind and spoke to Isaiah in the courtyard telling him to turn around
and go back inside to tell Hezekiah his prayer had been heard,
and He was adding 15 more years to his life.

Such a comforting, wonderful event that happened in the life of Hezekiah.
Such remarkable mercy shown by the hand of a loving God.
Such a faith-builder for you and me to read and grasp and believe.

But, that day at the kitchen table,
God reminded me of something else....
another situation in Hezekiah's life.
You can read the whole story in Isaiah 36 & 37.

Hezekiah had a problem.
He had an enemy named Sennacherib, the king of Assyria,
who was violent and mean-spirited and who defied God and His power.
Sennacherib sent a man named Rabshakeh to Jerusalem to taunt and torment Hezekiah
and make him feel completely defeated and unequal to the task.
The persecution was intense.
God sent Isaiah with comforting words for Hezekiah
to assure him that all would be well.
But, Sennacherib sent Hezekiah a letter that defied Isaiah's comforting words.
The letter said,
""Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, sayng,
Let not thy God, in whom thou trustest, deceive thee
saying, Jerusalem shall not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria...."

On and on the letter droned,
reminding Hezekiah of what had happened
to all of the other lands Sennacherib had attacked and destroyed.
The letter compared the God of heaven to the gods of the other nations.

Wrong move, Sennacherib and Rabshakeh!

To compare our God, the one true living God,
the only God,
to any false recipient of idol worship is a huge mistake!
To level the field and try to set Him on equal ground with any other
is total and complete foolishness.

Because our God reigns.
He is sovereign.
Over all others.
Over all.
Period.

The scoffers soon found out.

"And Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it:
and Hezekiah went up unto the house of the Lord,
and spread it before the Lord.
And Hezekiah prayed unto the Lord...."

I love that!

He took the letter, went to his place of prayer,
and he spread that letter out before the Lord.
 Then he prayed.

He poured out his heart.
He reminded God that everything Rabshakeh said concerning the obliteration
of the other nations was absolutely true.
Sennacherib had conquered many.
He seemed unstoppable.
Invincible.
Undefeatable.
The situation looked hopeless.

Hezekiah implored the Lord,
"Now therefore, O Lord our God,
save us from his hand,
that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that Thou art the Lord,
even Thou only."

It wasn't long until Hezekiah got his answer.
God spoke to Isaiah, and Isaiah passed His message along to Hezekiah, without delay.

"Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria,
He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there,
nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it.
By the way that he came, by the same shall he return,
and shall not come into this city.
For I will defend this city...."

I don't imagine Hezekiah could have ever, in his wildest dreams imagined
how God would choose to defend that city.
That same night, as Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Judah slept,
Almighty God, the same God you and I serve,
sent an angel of the Lord on a mission of vengeance.
Nothing could have prepared King Sennacherib and his army
for what they were to discover when they woke up the next morning.
They found 185,000 dead corpses lying on the ground!

Hezekiah didn't have to lift a finger.
He didn't have to do one thing.
God kept His word to Hezekiah.
God fought the battle for him.

Hallelujah!
He had no cause for alarm.
All because he took that matter to the Lord.
He laid that letter out before Him and told Him all about it.

As I sat at the table that day, remembering what God did for Hezekiah,
I got up and walked into our room.
I dropped to my knees next to our bed, and I spread that bill out on the quilt before the Lord.
I explained our plight, and I asked God to take care of it.
In a few moments I felt a peace that wasn't there before.
I arose from my knees with a firm confidence in God's ability to
do the things we could not.

Somewhere in between the day we got the bill
and the day the bill was due,
we unexpectedly got a check in the mail.
The amount was within $2.00 of the amount we owed on the unexpected bill!
Unexpected....to us.
No surprise....to our Provider.:~)
When I opened it, my heart overflowed with gratitude...
to the God Who is alive.
The God Who still answers prayer.
The God Who still looks down upon letters and bills spread out before Him.
The God Who cares enough to answer those prayers....
in such unexpected ways and measures.

How about you?
Have you received a letter?
Has the enemy attacked you from behind?
Hit you full-force with some kind of impossibility?

In the words of Max Lucado,
"Impossible is one of God's favorite words."

Your letter may be in the form of a broken heart,
a broken body,
a broken relationship,
divorce papers,
bad news from the doctor,
a phone call from the school,
an "accidental" discovery of betrayal,
heartache over an unreachable child,
a rejection letter, accompanied by shattered dreams, in the mailbox,
an eviction notice taped to the front door,
or, like us, one more bill added to an already overflowing pile.

We could go on and on....
listing the possibilities...
of what your personal letter might be.

Whatever it is,
God wants to see your letter.
He won't wrench it from your grasp.
He wants you to come to Him, willingly,
 and pray
and spread it all out before Him.
He already knows about it.
He knew all about Sennacherib and Rabshakeh
and everything Hezekiah was going through.
But, the thing that touched God's heart,
the thing that moved Hezekiah's mountain,
was the way he turned to God in his battle.
The way he brought it all before the Lord.
The way he prayed in faith.
The way he chose to ask God for deliverance.

God rose up in Hezekiah's defense.
God paid our unexpected bill....
not just that one, but many, many others.

I could literally write a book about situations just like this one.
So could you.
Think about it.
How many times has He worked miracles on your behalf,
after you have asked Him to?
How many times has He provided for bills, when there was no human means of paying them?
How many unexpected blessings has He dropped into your life out of the blue?

Letters come in all shapes and sizes and from all kinds of sources.
For each letter, God has an answer.
He has a remedy.
He is all-powerful.
He is all-knowing.
He listens.
He reads those letters.
And He answers prayer.

You and me....we're no different from Hezekiah.
He didn't have a VIP pass to the throne of grace.
No more than you do...or I do.

We have a personal invitation....just like King Hezekiah did.

Just like Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Rachel, Joseph, Hannah,
David, Abigail, Solomon, Esther, Daniel, Ruth....
and all of the other spiritual giants.
They were mere mortal men...and women.
God's creation.
They were those who chose to serve Him and fully turn their lives over to Him....
who prayed to Him,
presented their case before Him,
and chose His way of deliverance.

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy,
 and find grace to help in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16

It doesn't say..."let us come cowering, fearful of rejection, expecting to be cast out".
It says "come boldly".
It literally means.....
with confidence,
freedom,
openness,
bluntness,
outspokenness,
and plainly.


You are welcome at the throne of grace!
God wants to read your letter, my friend.

Open it.
Spread it out before Him...like Hezekiah.
Pray....expecting a great answer.
Then wait....for His deliverance.

You just might wake up one morning...
with a mended heart,
a healed body,
a renewed relationship,
a restored marriage,
that wayward child reaching to you with open arms,
a published book,
or a paid bill.

Whatever the threatening words in your letter,
let God answer it.

2 comments:

  1. Dear Cheryl, I just thought of all the times I have dropped the ball in life, made mistakes, been influenced by what other people were saying, and I wished I hadn't. But God is always there to set me back on the path. He is full of Grace and Mercy. Thank you for the reminder. Instead of bitterness and sadness, I can look at my life with a heart of gratitude for God's faithfulness. Love and Prayers, Deborah

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  2. Hi, Deborah, Yes, praise His name, we can focus on His faithfulness to us, instead of our shortcomings! I am so thankful there is nothing our God cannot do. He is all we need. Thank you so very much for your kind words....I enjoy them so much. God be with you, my friend! Love and peace to you.

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