“And Hezekiah wept bitterly…This is what the LORD says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears…And I will deliver you…” Isaiah 38:3b, 5-6.
Ever since I began doing Bible studies I have this ritual as I open the front page of the workbooks. I date the first page and list everything that is going on in my life and the life of my family. It helps me identify my responses in the study as they related to that particular season. Also, on more than one occasion God has led me back to the same study in a different season. With God leading, I am returning to that little orphaned Jewish girl named Esther, who was raised by her uncle Mordecai.
I retrieved my original workbook and opened up the first page to read the list of events happening at that time. There was no list…just a date…no words were needed…no prompts or reminders necessary. My grandmother and spiritual mentor had just died, my dad’s cancer had moved into his liver and my sister was in month 8 of a 2-4 month prognosis with cancer. It wasn’t until facilitating Griefshare a few years later that I learned that death and illness was a result from sin taking its place in our world.
When sin entered the world, illness and death was introduced. We were not created for death but for life and eternity. With sin surrounding us, we live in a world where a date can define us, refine us or enslave us. I am sure that most of you on the other side of this screen remember an email, a phone call, or a conversation that stamped its date on your heart…news that rocked your world and turned it on its end…circumstances that dropped you to your knees and shattered your heart. All of this being the by-product of sin.
There were days when my tear ducts stung from weeping so bitterly to the Lord with a broken heart. I remember feeling surrounded by overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. But, moment by moment, God laid His hand upon me, and kept His eye on me. Though my family members were taken to eternity to claim God’s best I had to endure this world’s worst – death. The Father who whisked my loved ones home is the same Father who delivered me from my grief and sorrow. This Father is mine and this Father is yours. He hears your pain and sorrow, and He sees your tears and fears. He will be faithful in restoring your life and healing your broken heartedness.
When we approach our circumstances with surrender and trust in God, that date may define what we endured but it will never define who we are. We are the children of God who were created for eternity, not for this fallen world.