Dedicated to the devotional, exegetical and philosophical study of theological paradox in Conservative, Thoroughly Biblical, Historically Orthodox, Essentially Reformed theology . . . to the glory of God alone!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thank You for the Bitter Trials, They Work for My Good

Hezekiah's prayer after his recovery from imminent death is worth reflecting upon this Thanksgiving. Hezekiah thanked God for the bitter trial he suffered, and recognized that God had used it for his good. Sometimes we have plenty of prosperity and enjoyment to thank God for. At other times it seems we have only trouble, sorrow, and affliction. But we can thank God for these, as well, for they are His tools to make us in the image of His dear Son. The Son who suffered with us, and for us. 

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 . . .

Hezekiah's Prayer
Isaiah 38:15-20

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
your faithfulness.

[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!


  1. The thing I'm learning, and it seems so silly to say, is that our God can be completely trusted. In dark, in danger - He serves up a table in the presence of our enemies. He's always good, everything He does is for the ultimate good of His adopted ones.

    Praise the Lord! And what a beautiful song - thanks, Derek.

  2. Blaine,

    Amen. It does seem silly to say, but we still need to hear it over and over and over . . . because we are such fools.

    Glad you enjoyed the song. I remember suddenly grasping the meaning of "And though it was stormy, I hope it was for me a learning. The blood on the road isn't mine, though - someone that I know has walked here before."

    Wow. That puts all of our suffering in perspective.

    Blessings, brother.


Feel free to respond to anything written in the posts, or to the comments left by others. All comments are reviewed before they are published.

Please be charitable. If you disagree, do so with grace. Keep your words positive, focused, and on-topic. We don't expect everyone to agree, but we do expect everyone to treat everyone else with respect and grace, speaking the truth in love.