January 17, 2020

There’s an old saying that says, “You can never go home again.” If you’ve ever tried returning to your hometown after a long absence, you know what I mean. Even if everything at home stays exactly the same, you have not; so it is very difficult, if not impossible, to ever return to things the way they were. If you try, you’ll usually be disappointed—no matter what the Hallmark Channel tells you.

Imagine returning “home” to a place you’ve never actually been—but have only heard about from your parents’ and grandparents’ stories of the “good old days.” The days before war and exile and slavery. The days when you could worship God freely and enjoy your own language and culture and land.   

Maybe that’s how the Israelites felt as they returned to Judah after being captive in Babylon for 70 years. Excited to finally be free. Amazed to be returning to the Promised Land, literally God’s Country. Walking for days to get back home again. You come around the last bend and up over the last hill and you look down at Jerusalem and see…Desolation. Ruins. Disappointment. 

I love how honest God’s Word is. God tells us the truth about life. Life is no fairy tale where one kiss makes a happy ending. Life is a series of ups and downs, one step forward and two steps back. Life is a challenge. Have you noticed? Even after God miraculously steps in and frees His people from captivity, that doesn’t mean it’s clear sailing from then on. There’s going to be work to do. There’s going to be opposition. There’s going to be trouble. 

Let’s remember to also teach our kids the truth about life. Life is hard. And that’s okay. It is meant to be. Trouble doesn’t mean God isn’t with us and it doesn’t automatically mean we’ve done something wrong. The truth is God’s plan is simply bigger than we can see and His plan includes our troubles. The truth is, God is bigger than our problems and He promises to take care of us through them, no matter what. 

Consider this week’s story in light of whatever your family is facing right now. This week’s story is about overcoming: poverty, discouragement, neighborhood opposition, legal woes, relational tensions. In the midst of the trouble, it is difficult to see how it might end well. But this story (and our story) ends well. Because, as always, God is faithful.  

He was faithful to keep all His promises and send us our Savior. Jesus showed us how to face trouble faithfully. And He won us victory over our worst problems: Sin, death, and the grave. Hallelujah!

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 

Peace & Love,

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