SCRIPTURE: Ezekiel 39:27 (TM) – larger reading Ezekiel 39:21-29
Once I've brought them back from foreign parts, gathered them in from enemy territories, I'll use them to demonstrate my holiness with all the nations watching.
During WWII six Navy pilots left their aircraft carrier on a mission. After searching the seas for enemy submarines, they tried to return to their ship shortly after dark. But the captain had ordered a blackout of all lights on the ship. Over and over the frantic pilots radioed, asking for just one light so they could see to land. But the pilots were told that the blackout could not be lifted. After several appeals and denials of their request, the ship's operator turned the switch to break radio contact--and the pilots were forced to ditch in the ocean.
Living as an exile can’t be a pleasant experience. Living in a community where the language spoken isn’t yours just adds confusion to the mix. Living in a foreign nation where the customs and traditions are totally lost on you is not a good placing layer upon layer of frustration, hurt and pain.
No matter how hard we try, no matter how long we search, no matter how many times we pray … it is still a foreign land, the language is meaningless noise, and their ways just doesn’t fall into line with what we are use to. We are the outsiders. We do not belong. The Israelites knew that reality on more than one occasion in their existence.
But then God steps in. He searches every corner of the foreign land. He brings back together those living in the enemy’s territory. God does that and he does it not because they/we pray with an earnest heart, not because they/we deserve being brought back home, not because they/we have earned the privilege, but simply because that is who God is. He demonstrates his holiness, his forgiveness, his grace, his love… measure upon measure, from everlasting to everlasting.
God does not remain in the dark playing some sick game of hide-n-seek. God doesn’t permit his children to continue the fruitless task of searching with an ever-decreasing sense of hope that some glimmer of possibility, some light in the middle of all the darkness will be turned out. The Almighty comes searching, he comes to the rescue, he brings us back home because that is just the way God is. Therefore, never give up hope. Regardless of where we might reside, no matter how far afield we might have drifted, no matter how foreign the land in which we presently travel … God will bring us back! Guarantee!
May we each experience the joy of being found and of being brought back home. It is a very lonely experience living in a foreign land. Bring us come, Lord, bring us home.