This blog is a sequel to an earlier blog titled “What is a Healthy Process for Dealing with the Loss You’ve Experienced in Your Relationship?” (Posted two weeks ago and on January 10, 2022).
In Hiding from Love, John Townsend made this powerful statement.
Make sadness your ally instead of your enemy. . . This sadness, or grief, allows you to let go of what you cannot have in order to make room in your heart for what you can have.
Townsend’s statement begs the question, “How do I do that?”
How do I let go of what I cannot have?
In this blog, I share one approach to answering the question. This approach will require time for quiet thought and honesty with yourself and with God. I believe this exercise will lead to surrendering to God so you can make room in your heart for what God does have for you. I learned this exercise from Hezekiah. His experience is recorded in 2 Kings 18-19.
I believe this exercise will lead to surrendering to God so you can make room in your heart for what God does have for you.
Here are two names and two events you need to know from the historical account.
- Hezekiah was king of Judah.
- Sennacherib was king of Assyria. Say his name out loud. It’s a fun one.
- Hezekiah and the nation of Judah were under siege by Sennacherib and his Assyrian forces. Sennacherib had already attacked and captured all the fortified cities of Judah (v. 13).
- Hezekiah tried to buy off Sennacherib by giving “him all the silver that was found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace” (v. 15).
However, Sennacherib’s vengeance could not be bought off. He returned with his armed forces and viciously bullied Hezekiah’s representatives and the people of Judah with words of mockery, deception, and threats. Sennacherib’s field commander held nothing back. He said the people of Judah would be eating their poop and drinking their urine. Read it for yourself in 2 Kings 18:27. Sennacherib’s commander capped it off with the taunting lie, “The LORD himself told me to march against this country and destroy it.”
Days later, Sennacherib sent a letter to Hezekiah with the same threats. Judah was outnumbered, underequipped, and unqualified for the task. The armies of Assyria had defeated all the other surrounding nations.
Pain, loss, and defeat seemed inevitable for Hezekiah.
Here is where I learn from Hezekiah. Follow the sequence of events detailed in 2 Kings 19:14-19.
- Hezekiah received the letter from Sennacherib.
- Hezekiah went to the temple with the letter.
- Hezekiah spread out the letter before the Lord (v. 14).
- In other words, Hezekiah laid out all his pain, pending loss, and sense of defeat for God to see in the form of a daunting letter.
- Hezekiah made his statement of faith regarding who God is (v. 15).
- Hezekiah requested that God hear him and read the letter for himself (v. 16).
- Hezekiah was honest about his thoughts. His language was not “churchy” or “Christianeeze.” It was gut-level thoughts and feelings.
- Hezekiah asked for God’s intervention so that all would know God’s supremacy (v. 19).
Hezekiah was honest about his thoughts. His language was not “churchy” or “Christianeeze.” It was gut-level thoughts and feelings.
Every story is unique among sexual abuse survivors and spouses. But shame, pain, and loss are common to all. There is no avoiding it. Platitudes do not make any of these experiences go away.
Shame, pain, and loss are common to all survivors and spouses.
We can follow the example of Hezekiah by engaging in a revised exercise based on Hezekiah’s actions.
- Write your own letter of shame, pain, and loss, and address it to God. Granted, the letter Hezekiah presented was not written by him but rather by his enemy. However, the prayer of Hezekiah was his own. In times of shame, pain, and loss, I find it helpful to write out my prayer.
- Take a few days to write your letter. Record your true gut-level thoughts and feelings.
- Go to a place where you can have privacy and quiet with God.
- Lay your letter out to God, asking Him to hear you.
- Hezekiah did not deny or minimize the threat (19:17-18). Recognize the magnitude of the problem you are facing.
- But more importantly, Hezekiah knew His God (19:15). Focus on the majesty and sovereignty of God whom you worship.
- When you are ready, surrender yourself, your loved ones, your situation, and your expectations to God. Place yourself and everything in your letter into His hands.
- Believe that God hears you and loves you.
This does not mean that God will now do what you want Him to do.
Anchor yourself in what you know to be true.
- God’s mercy never ends (vv. 22-24).
- Waiting is not a waste (vv. 25-27).
- The final word has yet to be spoken (vv. 31-21).
- God is always good (v. 33).
A Final Thought:
Hezekiah had Isaiah as his own spiritual advisor. All of us should have someone we trust serving as a spiritual advisor to us. Don’t walk your path alone.