In which hope flickers, darkness beckons, God arrives

by Craig on August 17, 2011

source

There was hope for Israel in the heavy of Exile.
There was belief that there would still be a future when they could barely get by the present.
Yes, they had to go through the trial.
They had to live in a land – and a way – they hated.
They were removed from a life and a position they held dear.
Everything was now different…
a different place…
a different relationship with God…
a different understanding of their place in the world.
If there was no hope, they would have been utterly destroyed.

But…

in this place where all was topsy-turvy, the Israelites had something to cling to, and they held on hungry and hard to the words of restoration, return, and Messiah…

hope in hopelessness…
possibility in impossibility…
life from death.

But even as hope flickers, darkness always beckons.

But when the walls are high…

and the light is dim…

and the dream is distant…

faith can be hard to find.

source

But sometimes when you have nothing to cling to but faith, faith increases.

In Exile there was nothing but mounting proof that there would be no escape.
The situation was so hopeless that many gave in and determined to remain in Babylon.

But for others, hopelessness birthed determination and devotion. They remembered God’s former great acts of deliverance. They were freed from bondage and into promise. It was the biggest miracle of their history.

It is the biggest miracle of ours.

For those who did not give up faith…
but rather, increased it…
must have come the thought…
that if God was big enough to arrange events to put them where they were…
then he was big enough to arrange events to bring them home.

And there were the words of Jeremiah, the same Jeremiah they hated before the Exile:

Behold, I will gather them from all the countries to which I drove them in my anger and my wrath and in great indignation. I will bring them back to this place, and I will make them dwell in safety. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for their own good and the good of their children after them. I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good, and I will plant them in this land in faithfulness, with all my heart and all my soul. (Jer 32:37-41)

Be faithful where we are…
get help and support from Christian friends…
learn the lessons we are meant to learn…
keep in close touch with the only One who can help.

Lessons of Exile…

but never a lesson until it’s learned…

until then … just comprehension…

and only upon apprehension…

deliverance.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Anita August 17, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I’m not in exile really, but I am in a season of believing God like never before. Some days it’s such a struggle to have faith. The “be faithful where we are” is so hard for me because where I am is not where I want to be. And the plans to change that are taking much longer than I’d like.

This was very encouraging. Thank you for such wise words.

Reply

Craig August 17, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Anita, first of all, I know, 100%, EXACTLY, the place in which you are. Like my mom said – I know like the back of my hand. I SO get it. And, by the way, my words are only wise because I copy off of God’s paperツGod bless you Anita, and thank you, and I hope – I really hope, that the right path would open up before you. .

Reply

Dawn August 17, 2011 at 2:27 pm

Dear Craig,

I think this is such a timely series because history has that nasty habit of repeating itself and we may be right on the edge of change. The world powers may shift in a big way and there may be exile. Those of faith may not be able to get to church or be able to philosophize on the internet.

May we hang on hungry and hard to the words of restoration, return, and Messiah…
It fits, doesn’t it?

Preparing for whatever,
Dawn

Reply

Craig August 17, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Dawn! Bite your tongue! Writing this, for shame – “or be able to philosophize on the internet.” that’s kind of my thing right now – and I’m really not looking for another trial – I get that trials are good – and we learn, and we grow, but I could use a teensy break – I heart philosophizing on the interwebs!!!! God Bless you my friend – don’t bite your tongue too hard ツ

Reply

Deborah August 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Craig
Thanks for visiting my blog. You put a big smile on my face. Your post today was a great reminder. Your such an inspirational writer. Thanks for sharing.

Blessings to your family and cat! :)
Deborah

Reply

Craig August 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm

Deborah, I heart your blog! And your comment just inspired this thought. I’ve said this for a long time – and believed it too. That God never promised us silver linings in clouds – that’s positive thinking, and it’s all well and good – but God never promised silver linings in clouds – he promised rainbows from storms – and here’s the part I got inspired to write after your comment “in every storm there’s a rainbow – and at the end of every rainbow –There. Is. God.” thank you for that – I heart that! And blessings to your family too – and your – and I can only say this because Laska the love Kitty is in the other room – bless your dog too. shhhhhhh

Reply

Martha Orlando August 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I loved the concept – if God was big enough to put them where they were, He was big enough to bring them home. That is the epitome of faith and trusting that with God, all things are possible. And, yes, in times of trouble, He is the one we can turn to and count on. God is faithful!

Blessings!

Reply

Craig August 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Martha – I have nothing to add to your comment. Just agree, agree, agree, agree, and agree, and agree! I think that covered all of your points ツ Blessings to you too Martha.

Reply

Debbie August 17, 2011 at 7:09 pm

I love this study of Exile. Just something about it that has me captured. Listening. Desiring to learn. And I love the part that Dawn quoted too . . .the hanging on hungry and hard. . .
Thank you! God bless you and where He leads you!

Reply

Craig August 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Thank you Debbie. The Exile never gets enough attention – and it was a HUGE moment. And I heart that you notice – and heart – the occasional poetry in my prose – makes me smile ツ God Bless.

Reply

Michelle August 18, 2011 at 5:45 am

“that if God was big enough to arrange events to put them where they were…
then he was big enough to arrange events to bring them home.”

That kinda echoes a word that came through on Sunday. That God is bigger than our problems, bigger than our families, bigger than our finances, bigger than what is happening around the world. We CAN trust Him! I’m hearing Him (slowly, faintly, but hearing).

Reply

Craig August 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Michelle, sometimes God only speaks as quickly as we are ready to hear – maybe knowing that we might not listen the second time around. Just sayin ツ And yes, I just made that up – just for you ツGod Bless you my friend!

Reply

Hillcrest Cottage August 18, 2011 at 8:06 am

“When you have nothing to cling to but faith, faith increases”
What wise words. What truth. If there is ever a Plan B… I will desire to grab it every time. Clinging to faith is tiring and so counter-cultural… even in a Christian culture. But faith is like a muscle which only gets stronger through exercise.

Reply

Craig August 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

oh, that is so true, clinging to faith IS so counter cultural – everything around us screams that faith is silly, faith is old-fashioned, faith is to be doubted – and there’s just one still voice that reassures us. and I heart the reminder that faith is like a muscle – I need to exercise more – I want stronger faith. Thank you as always, and God bless you..

Reply

A. August 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I heart this, and heart the little four-line lessons from Exile summary! simple is good sometimes.
I am in a place of leaning on Him, in faith, even more than ever. I love it when He lets us see little and big miracles, too. I had one recently and it made me smile, but so does just knowing He is there and He is faithful. I will pray now.

Reply

Lisa Adams September 19, 2011 at 3:17 pm

I am in an exile myself. I have moved, by God’s instructions, to a new city and state. He has placed my children and me in a city with safe schools and good neighborhood. He has placed me with a person to help me through my trials in this new land, but the job He wanted me to take I did not because it was too hard to pass the exam. He has not allowed me to obtain any other employment. I am learning now to step out in faith further to see what He has for me. I came upon your blog because someone sent me a text called God Allows that I could not open. I looked online to find it, and I found your blog. I needed this! Thank you, and I will follow other blogs to keep my spirit up.

Reply

Craig September 19, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Lisa, I want you to know that I just finished praying for you. I have found that what God “allows”, since this is a broken world, has probably a less than 50-50 shot at being puppy dogs and ice cream. Life is struggle. No? And I know of closed doors when you thought they would open, and failure when you sensed success, and trial, and error. I really do wish you well! God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours Lisa.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: