In the crucible of faith
After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the Lord’s Temple and spread it out before the Lord. And Hezekiah prayed this prayer before the Lord: “O Lord of Heaven’s Armies, God of Israel, you are enthroned between the mighty cherubim! You alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth. You alone created the heavens and the earth. Bend down, O Lord, and listen! Open your eyes, O Lord, and see! Listen to Sennacherib’s words of defiance against the living God. “It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have destroyed all these nations. And they have thrown the gods of these nations into the fire and burned them. But of course the Assyrians could destroy them! They were not gods at all—only idols of wood and stone shaped by human hands. Now, O Lord our God, rescue us from his power; then all the kingdoms of the earth will know that you alone, O Lord, are God. Isaiah 37:14-20 NLT
The circumstances we find ourselves in right now are where God is developing our faith. What God is accomplishing through these trials is significant so we will look beyond ourselves. God is setting apart a people whose faith is awaken to make them living proof that His salvation is worth anything. We can look up to people who lived exemplary lives in the past but their greatness can also make us feel insufficient. Instead, God is saying to us, “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV). God has placed us in this time so we could make an impact to this generation. He has positioned us in a war against forces we may not completely understand (see Ephesians 6:12). And this culture we are in is ruled by God’s enemy where we encounter ultimate evil. Satan will not stop convincing us that our lives have no lasting significance. He tempts us to grab all what we can while we can. God won’t come through for us because He wants us to choose the life He offers and not listen to Satan’s demoralizing lie. God knows that if we live by that wisdom, we will end up empty. Paul said, “I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:12-14). That is what God calls us to do, being focused on Christ. That is how we will overcome the evil that will drive us into nothing. This is what Isaiah is telling the Israelites. They have a king, King Hezekiah, who found courage in the midst of circumstances because all he wanted was for God to be glorified.