As I opened my Sunday school teacher’s guide last night, I fully expected to find a Bible story talking about the saints who have gone to Heaven before us for All Saints Sunday.
Instead, I found a lesson about Hezekiah. I had no idea who Hezekiah is. I can teach about Elijah and the ravens bringing him sustenance during the time of drought. I know all about Naaman being healed by washing seven times in the Jordan River. But Hezekiah? I had some serious studying to do.
All you need to know about King Hezekiah is in two short chapters of 2 Kings. In 2 Kings 18:4, all of a sudden Hezekiah is removing high places, smashing sacred stones and breaking the bronze snake that Moses had made. Sounds like Hezekiah is a pretty bad king, doesn’t it? But just before verse 4, in verse 3, it says that he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord!
My skinny little easy-to-carry to church Bible was not going to explain everything to me. It was time to break out the heavy duty, just plain heavy Study Bible. My Study Bible explains that idolatry was going on in the the high places and that the people had begun to worship Moses’s bronze snake, so these things had to be destroyed so that the people would go back to the temple and worship the Lord.
Hezekiah was a good king, and so in time of trouble, he prayed to the Lord and the Lord answered him. The Sunday school lesson is all about prayer, and how just like Hezekiah, we can pray to God whenever we need Him and He will answer us.
Of course, the most difficult thing to learn about prayer is that while God promises to answer our prayer, He chooses His own time and means for that answer. I learned this the hard way as I prayed one night, long and hard and with tears bursting out of my swollen eyes. I prayed for God to take the cancer away from my mom. God heard my prayer, and in a way, He did take away her cancer. In doing so He also took her to Heaven to be with Him. It was not the answer I wanted, and it was not delivered in the way that I wanted it to be. For quite some time, I was quite angry with God because of this.
Today, All Saints Sunday, is a day when we remember all those who have been called to glory before us. We are also reminded that because of our faith, some day we too will be called to Heaven. In one of the hymns we sing, there is a line that says “I am just a stranger here.” Hebrews 11:14-16, telling us about the faithful who have gone before us, says “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth….Instead, they were longing for a better country–a heavenly one.”
Heaven is my Home.