This past week was a week of ups and downs, of adventuring downtown and to the beach, of getting sunburned and watching the sunset, of hardboiling over 650 eggs at 6 am during Saturday and Sunday work duty in the kitchen, of backpacks and shaved ice, of laughing until I cried and crying until I had no tears left.
It was a Kingdom week, and the Lord met me in some incredible ways this week.
It was also a language week.
One day I had the chance to lead worship in 4 different languages: Korean, French, German, and English.
Later that same day, I also sang among a crowd of over 1,000 people a beautiful song in Fijian, Hawaiian, and Samoan.
And, the beautiful thing was, that especially when I was leading worship, those who spoke Korean, French, or German as their first language didn’t mind if I messed up a little, or if I didn’t quite have the right intonation or pronunciation. They were just thrilled to be able to sing and worship in their own language! What a fun day that was as we laughed and loved each other by learning new things.
And then, I also learned some Khmer, the beautiful language of Cambodia! I can’t wait to say “jom reb sua” to the people there in just 30 days!
(This little guy visited me during a lecture this week; I think he enjoyed learning with us!)
I also got to travel around the Kona coast a little, adventuring out to some ancient home and temple sites of the Hawaiian kings back in the day, and enjoying some of the local sights and getting my backpack broken in a little. ;)
(My friend Dani and I after our first stop on “adventure day,” a local drug store to stock up on chocolate, macadamia nuts, and sparkling water!)
I ate really, really well this week, especially at a wonderful place called Sam Choy’s! The founding chef even has a cooking show, and after eating there, I can see why. And it was even on a YWAM budget! Not bad. ;)
(Dani, Kat, and I at Sam Choy’s, overlooking the South Kona coast.)
Now, I also learned a lot of other things this week, like how to pick an avocado at it’s ripest, how to climb onto my upper bunk without a ladder, how to rig up a light source using my headlamp and a water bottle, and how to take notes faster than the speed of light when our speaker talked really, really fast.
But the most profound things I learned this week were a whole lot more near and dear to my heart.
Have you ever heard of a guy named Hezekiah?
Well, actually not just a guy… a king.
A really awesome king.
This past week, I thought about him a lot.
A friend of mine encouraged me to look him up, so look him up I did. I found his story in the pages of 2 Kings 18-20.
And what a story it is. 3 chapters. 29 years of reigning. He lived a life of service, and died when he was 54 years old.
In a time when the Israel had been exiled for their sin, when the people were running from God, worshipping idolss, selling themselves, and sacrificing their children, here was Hezekiah, king of Judah.
“He did right in the eyes of the Lord.”
“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.”
Hezekiah was a good man. A good king.
He followed the Lord, and never stopped trusting Him.
Even when Sennacherib, king of Assyria (who incidentally had a huge army, lots of power, were pretty nasty and evil people, and had just exiled Israel and deported Samaria), showed up on Hezekiah’s doorstep.
The Assyrians had a huge reputation for being barbaric warriors. They took over cities, killed the townspeople, took captives, pillaged, speared their victims on stakes, and so much more. They were so proud of their conquests, and were such strong warriors that they managed to build a massive empire.
The field commander from Assyria came to our buddy Hezekiah and threatened him, ridiculing Hezekiah and the Lord, offering bargains and false promises, mocking the work of the Lord, and Hezekiah’s trust in Him.
He even tried to dissuade the people of Judah from trusting God or trusting King Hezekiah.
It shook the officials who received the message, and they went to Hezekiah, weeping messes with torn clothes and no confidence.
And Hezekiah? He tears his clothes to show his grief, sends people to talk to and hear from the prophet Isaiah (see his story in Isaiah 36-39), and without hesitation falls at the feet of God in the temple.
Hezekiah’s response to hardship, fear, and doubt was to be driven to his knees before the Lord.
He remained confident in God’s sovereignty, God’s power, God’s plan, and God’s faithfulness.
By now, Isaiah had sent back a small report: “Do not be afraid.”
Sennacherib, however, sends Hezekiah more taunting words in a nasty letter.
And Hezekiah? He takes the letter straight to the temple, lays it out before the Lord, declares God’s sovereignty and begs for deliverance for the people of Judah. Not for his own glory or reputation, but “so that all the kingdoms of earth may know that You alone, Lord, are God.” (2 Kings 19:19)
Just like Hezekiah knew He would, God responded.
He heard Hezekiah’s prayer, and promised (not for the first time) that He will defend. He will save.
He will respond, act, and deliver.
That night, the angel of the Lord slayed 185,000 Assyrians.
And with that display of Hezekiah’s God’s power, Sennacherib took the hint, and withdrew his armies from Hezekiah’s land.
Fast forward a few years.
King Hezekiah is on his death bed. He turns to the Lord, heart broken, feeling forgotten, and begs to be remembered. He wept, was heartbroken, and honestly poured out his hurt before the Lord.
Just like Hezekiah knew He would, God responded.
“I will heal you.”
God gave Hezekiah another 15 years on this earth, again pouring out His promises of deliverance and defense, before calling His servant home.
Hezekiah walked with the Lord all his life, showing honesty and heartbreak and love and truth.
When faced with fear, hardship, threat, and while all others around him were doubting, Hezekiah’s first action was to drop to his knees and spread out his troubles before the Lord.
He had no doubts, but only a confident hope in the Lord’s deliverance, defense, and trustworthiness.
That is some serious trust.
This is such an incredible example of relationship, and it’s one I want to emulate.
When, and how often, do I do that? When faced with fear, run straight to the Father?
Drop everything, run from those who threaten, and just rest in the strength of the Lord?
I discovered something this week:
This type of relationship is what God wants with us.
And it’s something I can do.
So why do I so often hesitate?
God’s love is constant, unchanging, unfailing.
He is my Deliverer, my Defender, my Saviour, my King, my Beloved.
And His arms are open.
This week, I re-discovered the extravagant, gentle, glorious love of the Lord for me.
Even though I may fail, may doubt, may fear, He never fails.
So may I be like Hezekiah when faced with life’s challenges: running straight to the Father, trusting in His defense, deliverance, and faithfulness, no matter what comes.
Peace and blessings, my friends.
Sending you some Hawaiian aloha. <3