Out of Exile: Day 20 – Comfort in Exile

Once you realize the depth of exile stories in the Bible, the Bible becomes even more relevant. Many books are written directly to exiles: to correct them or comfort them. Isaiah is a good example of comfort:

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD’s hand double for all her sins. A voice of one calling: “In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain.  And the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all mankind together will see it. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.” Isaiah 40:1-5

In other words, days of exile have and expiration date. They aren’t meant to last forever.  There is a turning point where you can start looking for God to show up and bring you “home.” 

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins;

The LORD will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. “Listen to me, my people; hear me, my nation: The law will go out from me; my justice will become a light to the nations. My righteousness draws near speedily, my salvation is on the way, and my arm will bring justice to the nations. The islands will look to me and wait in hope for my arm. Isaiah 51:3-5

If you are in the midst of exile, God’s salvation might seem hard to believe. Maybe you looked for it for so long that you gave up. You conditioned yourself to no longer look for God. You’ve accepted “exile” as your lot in life. Don’t be too quick to accept that role. Salvation might be nearer than you realize.

I wonder if I could get some honest response to this post. Have you given up on God? Did your exile cause you to walk away, assuming that God walked away first?  Or do you still have hope of his return to rescue you? Leave a comment below, if you would. Readers learn a lot from the comments. Thanks.

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4 thoughts on “Out of Exile: Day 20 – Comfort in Exile

  1. Anonymous

    I have not given up on God, but I have accepted that I might be called to walk the same path as those Israelites who finished out their life while still in exile.

    Because of the realities of my exile I am not expecting to be delivered from it on this side of Eternity. While deliverance in this life would be wonderful and at some level I do long for that, I am much more looking forward to Heaven where I know for sure that everything will be put aright – where true peace and fulfillment is the promised reality.

    Over the years, and I can only speak for myself and my situation, I have come to find that this heavenly perspective (instead of looking for exile-delivery in this life) is developing a hard-fought, but deep, deep sense of peace and joy in this life – it is training my heart to focus on God above all else (and this all relates very much to the lessons you described in Day 19).

    I think in some ways modern American culture has given us this expectation that everything will work out fine and we’ll all eventually get what we hope for and live happily ever after. But I often think of the slaves and how they lived and died in the most horrific of conditions. And yet their faith ran deeper than most people in today’s American culture can even comprehend.

    I do know and understand that God can and will use (in this life) the things we suffer with and struggle through. But not knowing how or when that will happen (and that it might not change the circumstances), I find great comfort and hope in the promise of Eternity – I love Wayne Watson’s song – “Home Free” http://youtu.be/G6l1kpJ0x5k

    This perspective might be called giving up, but it doesn’t feel that way 🙂

    1. F. Remy Diederich Post author

      I think everyone has to carefully discern (and what you seem to have achieved): whether or not your “return from exile” is literal or emotional/spiritual only. I’ve often thought about people born into poverty and/or war. That is an exile from which they may never escape. But hopefully they can find a place in God where they experience joy and peace in spite of their circumstances. That’s always the goal. I don’t like people to assume they will never find freedom in this life. There is always hope. Some slaves did achieve physical freedom. It’s a careful balance of faith, hope, and perseverance.

      I’m glad you feel like you have developed a deep sense of peace and joy. No one can’t take that away from you and that is what I’m hoping everyone will achieve by reading through this series. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Lisa

    If our citizenship is in heaven (Phil 3:20-21) and if we are “in” this world but not “of” this world, but are chosen “out” of this world (called through the gospel) -this portion of life can feel like an exile with an escape route. Finding the escape route (Jesus) is/ can be the challenge. Can we be comforted in the midst of exile? Absolutely, God is good like that.

    Three more passages in Isaiah that have comforted me are Chapter 55..zeroing in on verses 8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” I have thanked God many times His thoughts and ways are higher than ours even if I don’t understand them all.

    Isaiah 53 shows us our Savior and more verses in 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God,
    to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord
    for the display of his splendor. ”

    Have I ever felt forsaken by God? Absolutely NOT. Have I been confused by his sovereignty? Yes. Have I been frustrated by His permissible will? Yes. Have I wanted His omnipotence to operate differently? Yes. Fed up with so much loss at an early age, did I turn my back on God for a bout 10 years? Yes, I did. Was he still there when I decided to go looking for Him again? He sure was. Did my sins separate us ? Yes. Did He remedy that? He fixed it good. Does God keep His word “Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you”. I have only found this to be true all the time, every time in my experience.

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