This post continues my series on how to recover from a crash and burn. It is based on the story of the Israelites when they “crashed and burned” and were sent into exile to live in Babylon for 70 years. It’s ancient history, yes. But it’s relevant to anyone who fails miserably and ends up on the sidelines of life. Track back to read the earlier posts.
It might seem that when you crash and burn you are sent to the sidelines to sit out for the rest of the game. But the sideline is the place to regroup, heal up and get some good coaching so you can make a comeback. Here are two more advantages of exile (the sideline).
Exile puts you in a place to see God move.
When you’ve made a mess of your life there is a tendency to think that God won’t show up for you anymore. But that’s not true. God wants to do amazing things in your life and it starts in exile. If you read the book of Daniel in the Bible it’s about what happened in exile. God showed up in some miraculous ways in exile. God didn’t wait until the Jews got back to Israel to work miracles. He didn’t wait until they were living the perfect life.
God does the same with us. He’s not waiting for you to get your life back together before he moves in your life. He wants to move in your life today, even in exile, so you CAN get your life back together. I’ve seen this in the lives of divorced couples. They feel so defeated. But God shows up to bless them both. It’s amazing and so contrary to what they think will happen. They assume that after failing at marriage they have to suffer. But God’s not out to punish them. He’s out to transform them.
Exile gives you time to form new habits.
Exile is typically a long period of time, not just a few weeks. A few weeks isn’t an exile. That’s just a bad vacation! Most of us want to get out of exile long before our time is up. So we need to readjust our thinking and prepare for the long haul. When Moses killed a man he spent 40 years in the wilderness before God used him to lead the Exodus. For the Jews, their time in exile was set for 70 years. This is what the God said:
When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. Jeremiah 29:10
God wants to restore us but we have to endure the exile first. The seventy years needed to be “completed” before God brought them back. There is a set time for exile and you can’t rush it. I’ve been through my share of exiles…some for months, some for years… and Psalm 37 often guided me…
Trust in the Lord and do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Psalm 37:3
I felt God used this verse to keep me grounded in TODAY and not jump into tomorrow. He wanted me to be faithful to the people in my life and not complain to God about why I wasn’t moving on to the next phase of my life.
My point here is, don’t spend your exile wishing your life away. Embrace it. Make the most of your time by working on the things that made you crash and burn in the first place. Exile is a time for building your character because character is only built in hard places…not easy ones.
Question: I’d love to hear from you about your sense of exile. What good things have you seen happen to help you recover? Leave your comment below.