Hezekiah, King of Judah, was very ill and “at the point of death” (2 Kings 20:1), when the prophet Isaiah comes to him with a word from the Lord telling him to get his house in order, because he’s going to die. Hezekiah reacts the way most of us would; in despair he cries out to God and “weeps bitterly.” God’s response is very quick; Isaiah hasn’t even left the palace when God’s word comes to him telling him to go back and tell Hezekiah that he’s heard his prayer, will heal him, give him 15 more years of life, and deliver the city from the King of Assyria.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)
I so easily fall into the trap of thinking that I can somehow manipulate God and force situations to turn out the way I want them to by doing the right thing. I am often under the illusion that if I fast enough, pray intensely enough or use the right words, come to the right point of surrender, or obey fully enough, then God will grant me what I want. The outcome will be good, and by good, I mean the way I want it to be.