"How to Respond to Bad News" - Monday, July 6, 2020 - by Dianne Prince
1. In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. 5. “Go back and tell Hezekiah, the ruler of my people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the Lord. 6. I will add fifteen years to your life. II Kings 20:1,5,6 (NIV)
Have you ever been in a position where you have problem upon problem? Issue upon issue? You get delivered from one thing, only to find yourself confronted with another thing. I’m reminded of Job. The Bible said, “While he [Job’s servant] was yet speaking” of one calamity, another servant came with even more intense bad news that was worse than the news before that. If it is not one thing, it is another.
Life is full of challenges, twists, turns, roads, avenues, streets and alleys. Life is full of ups and life is full of downs. Life is full of bright spots and life is full of dark valleys. The thing about life is you are typically not the cause of bad news. You are typically on the receiving end. If you could control it, you would choose to avoid it. However, if you avoid it, you will never know the true power of Almighty God.
In our scripture today, Hezekiah is king. Today’s key verse begins with, “In those days.” “In those days” indicates that something significant was going on or had gone on. In this case, it refers to the days of the invasion of Jerusalem by Assyria. We mentioned last week how God had miraculously spared Jerusalem from being seized by Assyria by sending an angel to destroy 185,000 Assyrian soldiers as they lay in wait to attack Jerusalem. God has ushered Hezekiah through that crisis, and now Hezekiah gets word he is sick unto death and he is going to die. Ain’t that bad news?
In II Kings 20, Hezekiah teaches us how to respond to bad news. He responded by praying fervently. He reminded God of his consistent faithfulness, his unwavering devotion, and his good behavior throughout his lifetime. Simply put, Hezekiah was praying, “Lord, have mercy on me.” And, God did just that!
From bad news, we learn a lot about ourselves. We learn what is inside of us—our weaknesses, our strengths, our shortcomings and our character flaws. We learn what we are made of, how much we can bear, and our level of spiritual maturity. We learn the extent of our dependence on God and we learn the degree to which we trust Him. Those are great revelations that afford us the opportunity to develop our spiritual muscle and to improve ourselves.
From bad news, we learn a lot about those around us. We learn who will stand by our side and who falls by the wayside. We learn what is in people’s hearts and what are their true motives. We learn who are the pray-ers and we learn who are the naysayers. Those are valuable lessons as we build our inner circle of friends and acquaintances.
From bad news, we learn a lot about God. Were it not for bad news, we would have no reason to trust God, we would not experience His deliverance, we would have no measure of the vastness of His power, and we would have no insight into the beauty of His unpredictable ways. Those are faith-building experiences.
From bad news, our faith is boosted after experiencing God’s hand of mercy, after seeing the creative ways He provides for us, and after experiencing first hand how He produces pulsating life from listless dormancy.
God answered Hezekiah’s prayer by healing his body and postponing his death by fifteen years. God rewards obedience. God honors faithfulness. God answers prayers. And, God freely grants mercy just for the asking. What a mighty God!
Bad news will come. However, it comes with many lessons to be learned—lessons about ourselves, lessons about those around us, and most of all, lessons about the character and enormity of God. All the lessons we learn during persevering through bad news are designed to draw us closer to Christ and to mold us to be more like Him.
There are many lessons to be learned in bad news. Instead of praying the bad news away, ask God to keep you during your season of bad news and to teach you what you need to learn “in times like these.”
More daily inspiration can be found in the book Stronger and Wiser by Dianne Prince.