And before Isaiah had gone out of the middle court, the word of the Lord came to him: “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. Behold, I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord, and I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and I will defend this city for my own sake and for my servant David’s sake.” And Isaiah said, “Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover.” II Kings 20:4-7 ESV
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:14-21 ESV
Oliver Twist was a little boy who was an orphan, and he was taken by the local authorities to live in a workhouse. Oliver had to work at picking oakum, which meant untwisting fibers of rope, a very hard and tedious job. The people who ran the workhouse fed the boys who lived there very little. They were given a bowl of gruel at mealtimes, which was barely enough food to keep a young boy alive. One day at mealtime Oliver finished his gruel and went to the man in charge of giving out food and asked for more. Everyone thought that Oliver had done a terrible thing in asking for more, and he was locked up in a dark room by himself because of what he had done.
How very different our God is than this! We can always ask him for his blessings, and we can never ask too much of him. When Hezekiah asked God to allow him to have more time to live, God gave him fifteen more years of life, and he healed him of his illness. God wasn’t angry with Hezekiah, even though he had cried and felt upset and even angry with the Lord. God heard his prayer and gave him what he asked for, and Hezekiah would go on being the king of God’s people, and God would continue to bless and take care of him.
God is able to give us many wonderful things, even more than we can ask for or think of, but of course that doesn’t mean he will always give us what we want. He will do what is best for us, even if it’s not what we expect or wish for. But we never have to worry that God will be angry with us for anything we ask him for, or that he will get tired of our prayers or of helping us and blessing us. We know that his love for us is beyond anything we can possibly understand. He loves us so much that he came to us in Jesus, and gave his life on the cross to win us back for him. Because of Jesus we have more blessings from God than we can count or even really know about. He sends us his Holy Spirit to help us with our prayers and to know what things we can ask for that will truly please him.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your great help and many blessings, and for always hearing our prayers and answering them in the best way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Dickens, Charles Oliver Twist London: Richard Bentley, 1838.