Sep 30, 2015
The setting sun paints the clouds pink, and the white trunks of birches glow against the fading grass of the field. I am driving home, my thoughts racing through memories of many such sunsets and birches. It is an ache that persists, and I know its only cure is the day I am forever home.
The emotion of loss is to be wrestling with grief on some level everyday. The ancient Israelites, huddled in Babylonian cities, spent their lives looking back, mourning the way of life and the temple they lost. But Ezekiel forced their vision forward to the days he called “the latter years”. (Ez:38 KJV) He pressed them to embrace truth in the midst of disaster.
He spoke of strange men and nations yet to be born. He spoke of his people returning to their homeland from every foreign place and living in safety. He spoke of enemies rising against them, Meshech, Tubal, Persia, Libyia, Ethiopia and many more, defeated by a shaking of the earth, flooding rains, hail, fire, sulfur and disease.
I am sure they dreamed wistfully when he told them of the day the Temple would be rebuilt and God’s glory would fill it for eternity.
I am sure many hoped the temple they rebuilt would be Ezekiel’s Temple. But it was not. That one is yet to come. Instead they waited, most still living in a foreign land, still hoping his words were true.
Israel’s struggle continues. Israel has endured and will endure, kept safe by the God who remembers His promises. And as the pines blur past my car windows, I know that I too am kept safe by the same God. Ezekiel’s words also raise my vision, to the times ahead when my hope is made visible. My struggle is not a vain attempt at life but a journey to abundant life.
This is the week of the Jewish festival of Sukkot. I am not Hebrew–you’ve probably guessed that- but this festival is a time of rejoicing. I myself am setting the time aside as a time of praise. I don’t know what the rumblings in the Middle East may bring, or what is in my future as the seasons wind down, but I know this: God is faithful to His word and worthy of praise.
- (no comments)