This morning I’m hovering over the first part of 2 Kings 20 and the diagnosis of Hezekiah’s terminal illness. Parts of the story I can’t relate to at all. I’m no king. Never been sent a prophet with a “thus says the LORD” to put my house in order. But I can relate to being the recipient of bad news. To realizing that, apart from divine intervention, there’s no hope of a favorable outcome. To praying desperate prayers. To weeping bitterly.
And here’s the other ground I share with the dying, distraught king. God’s seen my tears.
“Turn back, and say to Hezekiah the leader of my people, Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears.”
(2Kings 20:5a ESV)
It’s the first mention of tears in the Bible. And they are from a man who, by the Spirit’s inspired testimony, “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD” (2Ki. 18:3). A king who “trusted in the LORD” and who stood out from every other king of Judah, save David, as one who “held fast to the LORD” (2Ki. 18:6). He had walked before his God “in faithfulness and with a whole heart” (2Ki. 20:3a). And now, as he faced certain death, he was shattered by the prospect of that walk on earth coming to an end. He had been wired by his Creator for life. He had lived that life for his Creator. And the prospect of that life coming to a close crushed him. And so, he prayed. And so, he “wept bitterly” (2Ki. 20:3b).
Guessing we know a lot more about life after life than Hezekiah did. More attuned that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord (2Cor. 5:8), and that while to live is Christ, to die is gain. But death is still an affront to the life we were created for. And so, in the face of death, we too weep. And often, we weep bitterly.
But God sees our tears. The One who commands the floodgates of heaven is aware of the water that falls from our eyes. Should He choose, He could collect them in a bottle or record each tear in a ledger (Ps. 56:8). He is not unaware of our sorrow and pain. He has known our suffering (Heb. 4:15). He has even wept Himself in our suffering (Jn. 11:35).
What comfort in knowing that God has seen every tear I have shed. What confidence, knowing that He will see every tear yet to be shed.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
(Hebrews 4:16 ESV)
Grace to be appropriated through every tear. Glory to be ascribed to the One who has seen our tears.