...and I pray that now at last by God's will...
Thoughts for Today:Compare Paul's words ("...by God's will...") to King Hezekiah's from 2 Kings 20:1-2, "In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz went to him and said, 'This is what the LORD says: Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.' Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD, 'Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes.' And Hezekiah wept bitterly." Look at King Hezekiah's response to the Lord's will once again: "He turned his face to the wall...and wept bitterly."
The Lord heard Hezekiah's prayer and added fifteen years to his life. When messengers from the King of Babylon came to congratulate him on his recovery, the prophet Isaiah asked him, "What did you show them?" "They saw everything in my palace," Hezekiah said. "There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them." Is anyone surprised when this report later led Nebuchadnezzar to invade Israel, steal the treasure, and carry its people off into slavery?
During this extra fifteen years which the Lord added to Hezekiah's life, he also fathered a son named Manasseh -- who became perhaps the worst king in Israel's history. I wonder how different the future might have been if upon becoming ill, Hezekiah had prayed, "Not my will, but your will be done."
Questions to Ponder:Unfortunately some bad things fell upon the people of Israel, it's treasure, and Hezekiah's descendants when the Lord granted him fifteen more years of life. I think this can be traced to the bitter and self-centered nature of Hezekiah's prayer. If I were terminally ill, I am quite sure I would call out to the Lord for healing as well. Hopefully I wouldn't (as Hezekiah did) turn toward a wall and "weep bitterly" -- then when the Lord answered my prayer -- start calling everything the Lord had provided "mine" -- "my palace", "my treasure", etc. Our faith is not to be in our own plans and desires, but in the goodness and wisdom of God. What is the nature of your prayer? Our own will or God's?