I'll never forget the moment I recognized that my most bitter and vexing affliction - one which I had endured for several years in brokenhearted agony - was from God, for my good, and I thanked Him for it from my heart for the very first time. That day I thought the tears would never stop, but they were tears of inexplicable JOY! And I rested, finally, in His grace and sovereignty. At last, some words from Elisabeth Elliot that had previously lodged themselves in my heart became reality, something about acceptance being the way to peace. And I think Hezekiah would know very well what is meant by that.
Here is a portion of Hezekiah's grateful prayer . . .
What shall I say? For he has spoken to me,
and he himself has done it.
I walk slowly all my years
because of the bitterness of my soul.
[affliction comes from God, leading us to hear His voice, pause, and consider]
O Lord, by these things men live,
and in all these is the life of my spirit.
Oh restore me to health and make me live!
[affliction can be life-giving, and God restores His beloved]
Behold, it was for my welfare
that I had great bitterness;
but in love you have delivered my life
from the pit of destruction,
for you have cast all my sins
behind your back.
[affliction works for our good, and God lovingly saves us from destruction and sin]
For Sheol does not thank you;
death does not praise you;
those who go down to the pit do not hope
for your faithfulness.
[gratitude, praise and hope are the good results of persevering under affliction]
The living, the living, he thanks you,
as I do this day;
the father makes known to the children
[giving thanks is a sign of life and a cross-generational language of faith]
The LORD will save me,
and we will play my music on stringed instruments
all the days of our lives,
at the house of the LORD.
[thanksgiving unites all gathered believers]
To augment this meditation, here is a great song of praise from Canadian singer/songwriter Steve Bell - stringed instruments and all. Have a wonderful, blessed, and peaceful Thanksgiving holiday!