The truth is, God is sovereign over life and death. If he seeks to heal someone, that is his prerogative. If he seeks not to heal someone, that is also his prerogative. Yes, we can all pray for healing, and all earnestly seek God in this regard. But at the end of the day we must trust him and ask that his will be done.
Okay, I already have a ‘Theology’ sub-section called ‘Difficult Bible Passages’ with 153 articles in it. And in this morning’s reading I came upon a really encouraging passage, as I often do. When I write them up, they might go in my ‘Sermons and Devotionals’ section. But I thought it is time to add this new sub-category. The problem is there would be so many older articles that I need to revisit and add to this new section.
So as my inaugural text, I will use 2 Kings 20:5 which states: “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you.” This comes from the familiar story of King Hezekiah. Below I will offer some theological and hermeneutical thoughts on this, but let me begin with some devotional reflections.
When I read this passage this morning I immediately posted it on my main social media page. I said this about it: “What God said to Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20:5 is something we can take hope in: ‘I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will heal you’.”
I also wrote: “He goes on to say that he has added 15 years to his sick life. My wife has been praying that prayer too. And whether or not we do get healing, the first two thirds of that verse is still a game-changer and something to take heart in: ‘I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears’.”
As you know, my wife has terminal cancer, and some time ago she said she was praying for another 15 years. God of course hears our prayers and sees our tears. How he answers our prayers however is another matter. The three main answers he gives are ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘wait’. We should above all want God’s will, not just our own desires fulfilled.
If the two line up, fine, but if God has other ideas from what we want, that is for the best. We have good friends who are in an almost identical situation: a busy Christian worker with a cancer-stricken wife. She has been praying for 20 years! (Maybe we should think bigger as well!)
But her chances are now down to almost zero, so she has to decide if she just stops the chemo altogether and focuses on quality of life for however long that might be, or keep on with the treatments and look at a possible small extension of life. A tough choice indeed.
It is a choice so many have to make, and likely one we too will have to make sooner rather than later. But every single believer in whatever situation he finds himself in can take real hope and encouragement from these two key truths: God hears our prayers and he sees our tears.
Other verses speak to this, most notably Psalm 56:8. As I wrote in an earlier article:
One final passage is well worth looking at however. I find it to be one of the most amazing and comforting passages in the entire OT. I refer to Psalm 56:8. As is often the case with Hebrew poetry, there may be some room to move here in translation, so I offer a few versions of this passage:
“Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll – are they not in your record?” (NIV)