Bitters That Bring Peace

“Indeed it was for my own peace that I had great bitterness; but you have lovingly delivered my soul from the pit of corruption, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.”

Isaiah 38:17

There is a homeopathic quote I’ve recently learned: Bitter can make you better… and so is sometimes the case spiritually as well, if we know He who is the Prince of Peace.

This passage was part of King Hezekiah’s praise testimony after receiving 15 added years from the Lord while pleading on his death bed. It was not just in pleading with God that Hezekiah gained the Lord’s ear; we are told here that it was also through repentance. Indeed, how does one plead with the Lord without first recalling the ways in which we fail to be worthy of a hearing?

The past ten years of my life could be summed up by that one verse. I pass any encouragement from it to you today. Too often it takes the death bed of circumstances to shake us loose of our worldly passions, self-righteous toil, and self-imposed ‘standards’ or superstitions — all sin — and so it seems every seed must “fall into the ground and die” to bear fruit (John 12:24)…

Indeed, He knows us better than we know ourselves; how can we fully discern our own errors (Psalm 19:12)? He alone knows the paths we must take for healing. For by bitter waterways He has led me to still waters; through passages of humiliation, suffering, and repentance, He has turned the pit of corruption inside-out into a staircase of glory-to-glory, removing my shame as He lifts my head, as my Head (Psalm 3:3; Isaiah 54:5).

How good it is for a soul to taste of bitterness if it comes from Him! By it He has trained and led many into Hezekiah’s humility and repentance. For when He puts our sins behind us, who can recount them and impute guilt? Where once was bitterness of soul before repentance, we turn to find the marks of a faithful and compassionate Redeemer working all the while on our behalf for peace — for reconciliation with God’s heart and God’s ways.

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