Exile is often a place of isolation. Part of the pain of exile is a feeling of being cutoff. You might be literally cutoff, separated from friends or loved ones by distance. Or you might be emotionally cutoff through betrayal or rejection, even though you live in the same town or house with friends, family and colleagues.
Exile is often a place of isolation. Part of the pain of exile is a feeling of being cutoff.
In my different times of exile, I’ve felt like God has purposely brought companions into my life to comfort and encourage me:
- People. When we lived on our farm, we experienced poverty and isolation in a way that was new to us. Our kids were young and through them, we met a family at church that had children mirroring ours. They were at the opposite end of the financial spectrum but never rubbed it in. Their friendship and inclusion into their life came at the lowest time for us. When that family moved, God brought another couple into our lives that has become some of our closest friends and ministry supporters.
- Books. I’ve always been a reader. During my exiles different authors brought grace and truth into my world to make sense of what was happening. I will share some quotes from them in the coming days.
- The Bible. The Bible had actually gone flat for me for a several years. That was an “exile” all of its own. But during my farm years I opened it once again, turning to Genesis 12 and started to read about Abraham. For whatever reason, his story came alive to me. I saw that Abraham’s exile was much like mine. I felt like I came to know him and heard God speak to me the better I got to know him. In the days ahead, I will share some of the texts that I found most helpful over the years.
My point here is that God doesn’t leave you totally alone in exile. But it may not be obvious who your companions are. Maybe the person YOU want isn’t the person God wants to use in your life. Look harder.
Before God brings you out of exile he has to complete the work he brought you there for. I know you want out…but this is only Day 18. There is much to accomplish before you head back home. That’s the reality of exile.
I’ve appreciated the people who have commented and processed their exile on-line. Consider doing the same. Today I’d especially like to hear about the companions God brought into your life to make your exile tolerable. Leave a comment below and subscribe to get the rest of the journey.