“In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem. Then Hezekiah repented of the pride of his heart, as did the people of Jerusalem; therefore the LORD’s wrath did not come on them during the days of Hezekiah.” (2 Chronicles 32:24-26, NIV2)
On April 3, 1892, while visiting Mont-St-Michel, the Marquis de Tombelaine reportedly decided to go for a walk on the beach. He wasn’t aware that tides could come in quite quickly, at more than a meter per second. He also didn’t know that the tide doesn’t move forward at the same speed everywhere, and the danger of being surrounded by rising waters is exponentially high. He just went out for a walk, oblivious to all dangers.
Eventually he found himself surrounded by fog and he lost his bearings. He couldn’t see Mont St-Michel and he started to swear. For a noble man, this truly isn’t dignified. As he was trying to find his bearings, he suddenly noticed the rising waters on his left. And then on his right. He started to run straight ahead, but quickly found that there, too, rising waters was coming towards him. He never made it ashore, lost forever in the North Sea. At least he was able to avoid the famous quick sands of Mont-St-Michel!
Many others encountered the same fate at this Marquis. Some were saved on time. Some of the saved ones turned their lives around for good, while others continued to live life as usual. Not everyone is grateful for a second chance in life.
The same is true during serious sickness. I have encountered many afflicted by disease with no hope in sight. Either the illness conquered them completely, or the sickness was defeated. Interestingly enough, amongst the last group, each one had a different reaction. They either gave complete credit to God and lived accordingly, or just like King Hezekiah, they shrugged their shoulders and lived like nothing ever happened. The Bible text suggests that it was his pride that got in his way.
“That would never happen to me!”
I would whole-heartedly agree to such a reaction, but truthfully do we really know ourselves deep down?
Miracles can change lives, but they can also leave many indifferent. Only if we are willing to open the doors wide of our heart to the influence of the One who died for us, will we experience the genuine love from above. It would not only change our indifference into total thankfulness, it would also lead us to real, love-filled living.
Miracles aren’t what drive us closer to God. It’s His love that truly attracts us to Him.
All the miracles that occurred in Egypt and the out-of-this-world deliverance through the Red Sea and the dessert did not drive the Israelites to fall in love with God, unlike King David, who realized that God was all about love. After all, who else could say: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4, NIV2)
The only way to really getting to know Him is to be willing to spend time with Him, just like David did. Only then can we truly realize how much He loves us.
What is this water doing here? It’s hard to see with all of this fog. The sand is so clingy as well! I wonder what’s up ahead.
(To access the entire “When Suffering Knocks on our Door” devotional series, please click here.)