God Left Me Alone?
“God withdrew from Hezekiah in order to test him and to see what was really in his heart.” — 2 Chron. 32:31
I know this is hard to believe, but sometimes I’ve felt very alone in the world.
Shocking, isn’t it? Here I am, a pastor of a church and a man whose been going to church for 37 years. I’m a self-proclaimed normal and sane person who believes I can actually talk with God and, at times, believes God even talks back.
Yet, sometimes I’ve felt there was no one listening, that God was not in the room much less in the universe, and I was the only real person in the world with feelings, hurts, disappointments, desires, lusts, dreams, failures, successes and more questions than answers.
Then I read about King Hezekiah, and I began to understand that I’m not the first person who ever felt he was alone in the world. And this was after Hezekiah had a great encounter with the miracle-making God. It went like this.
One day Hezekiah wakes up from a nap and isn’t feeling well. His buddy Isaiah, a local prophet, tells him to get his affairs in order for he was going to die. King Hezzy cries out to God and God sends Isaiah back to the King with good news: he is going to live!
When you read the story in 2 Kings 20, you see God promised He would heal Hezekiah of a life-threatening disease and proved it by making the shadow go back ten steps on the stairway. This is very heady stuff.
Word of this miraculous series of events draws international attention and foreign ambassadors come to come to pay their respects and see how the king’s doing. Now God, knowing Hezekiah had a tendency to become proud (2 Chron. 32:25), decided to test the king. He withdraws His presence to see if he’s going to tell the ambassadors about God’s goodness and lovingkindness, or if Hezekiah is going to show them all his accomplishments as a king. Hezekiah failed the test by showing his visitors everything in his storehouses (2 Kings 20:13).
This is where I pause, because I completely understand Hezekiah. If I felt the Lord left me after I’d been healed of a life-threatening disease, I’m not so sure I wouldn’t try to recount all my accomplishments before the assembled crowd and show them everything in my storehouse. Then in my spare time, I’d be looking for God under every pew and behind every stack of Bibles. I’d be telling everyone who’d listen what God did in hopes that God would show up again and let me feel His presence. God, of course, can never truly leave us. There is nowhere you can go to escape His omnipresent Self. David learned this lesson well and wrote a poem about it. Well call this poem Psalm 139.
What I need to do when I feel God leaving the room is simply sit down and know He never really left me. I remind myself that in His absence, nothing else satisfies. God knows this, but it is a lesson we all need to understand. Maybe we’re all a bit like Hezekiah, building up our storehouses by chasing things like cars, houses, iPhones, titles and vacations because we’re really looking for God.
I see now that on the occasions God left me alone, He did it to see if I’ll pursue Him or the stuff I think replaces Him. I’ve done both, and I found the stuff falls short. So next time I sense God has left me alone, I’ll know that all He really wants is me, and all I really need is Him.
Good word, Bro! I can’t count the times I’ve heard God’s people forget to give Him glory after He has used them in some miraculous event. They eventually get around to it, but not before they tell everyone how they ‘heard’ and they ‘did’! Sometimes, I think we all take too much for granted where it concerns giving thanks and Glory to God for the way He moved us and positioned us and used us to the purpose of being involved with Him in those miraculous events. Hmmm….I’m going to ponder this awhile, because even though I’m sure God is gracious and kind when we are just excited about Him mentoring us in the miraculous, I still want to be carefully mindful of Him and praise and glorify Him first. Thanks for the illumination! ^_^
Thanks, Anton. Always nice to know that something that’s been bothering me is also bothering someone else! Glad it could speak to you.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read this account and never really saw this until now. It really speaks to my heart about several memorable occasions when I felt alone. Sad to say I failed most often. One thing, though, how you put this reminds me of Gethsemane. Jesus kept seeking the Father and finally found him in the angel. I think our sins began to weigh upon him somewhere between the upper room and Mt. Olivet. Our sins began to separate his fellowship with the Father. He said that because of this he was near death. I am so ashamed to have not always followed this example. As you say, life is found in his presence and not in other things.
I’m glad that something the Holy Spirit showed me was a help to you. That is the reason I write. I pray you stay close to His presence and find by doing so, everything else in life that struggles for our attention will find it’s proper place.
Thank you for this.
You are very welcome. Would you share what you liked about it?
Just wanted to tell you, even though this particular post was written 7 years ago, it is still relevant to me. I was trying to understand the verse, God withdrew from Hezekiah… wondering what it really means. Thanks for beautiful exposition. it has helped me to see the verse in a different perspective. Thank you pastor once again.
You are very kind to tell me that. It is always nice to know God is still using something I wrote so many years ago.
Pastor, I would like to point out a few observations about the passage you mentioned
There is no indication to say that Hezekiah understood or perceived that God left him. Usually people say ‘God left me’ when they feel that their prayers are unanswered, have some physical troubles like sickness, poverty or threat from enemies(like the psalmist). Typically, they will also fell sad and gloomy at this stage. However this was not the case with Hezekiah. Hezekiah was certainly excited to show off his wealth to the Babylonians. He had no physical reasons to be sad. He had just pulled off an amazing victory against Assyrians. He just got healed from a deadly disease. His dreams were not shattered. His desires were satisfied. He was a hero in all sense. Most importantly he did not feel sad even when God proclaimed the punishment to him. So it is wrong to quote Hezekiah’s example when you feel depressed and sad.
Based on this scriptural example, it is right to assume that God withdrawing from someone takes place when everything is going well in that person’s life, not when he feels depressed about what is happening around him. This is true about many of the Christians today. God withdraws from them at the peak of their material blessings and they respond to it by going ahead and sinning. They dont even realize that God left them.
The situation when YOU feel that God is not with you, which the psalmist mentions, is a completely different phenomenon. When this happens God does not actually withdraws from the person, rather it just feels to the person that God has withdrawn from him.
Hope this helps
I did a search and come across your insight and experience. Having felt like God stepped away is not at all a pleasant feeling. However I have learned that it could be a test or for whatever God desires to use it for. It is after all to our best interest. He knows exactly what He’s doing. I believe we just need to stay the course and let God be God and our part is to continue to be faithful keeping our minds and our eyes fixed toward Heaven. God is beyond aaamazing and beyond our understanding! Thanks for your insight. I am book marking this as an insightful reference 🙏🏽