And in the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, when the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah was fulfilled, the Lord roused the spirit of King Cyrus of Persia to issue a proclamation throughout his realm by word of mouth and in writing, as follows: ‘This said King Cyrus of Persia: The Lord God of Heaven has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and has charged me with building Him a House in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any one of you of all His people, the Lord his God be with him and let him go up.’
II Chronicles 36:22-23
The people of God thought it was over, the temple destroyed, the people scattered. Those who survived the slaughter were sent to a foreign land. For seventy years they wondered if they would ever go home, if God was listening.
The God in the biblical narrative is the God who listens, indeed! It took a while, it took struggle, hardship, and sacrifice but in the end restoration was provided. Home could be found again.
So many times our lives seem to get away from us. We find ourselves in exile from the beauty and comforts of the life we imagined for ourselves. Our own decisions and our indecisions do not seem to explain why we are where we are, but if we listen closely to the story, to our story and to the stories of those around us we will quickly realize that we have paved the path of where we are, purposely or not.
The good news is that one day home will be found again. We can find our way back, sometimes our oppressor provides for return. God opens the way, opens our eyes, allows us to see what we could not see and hear what we could not hear.
The “House of the Lord” will be built again! The presence of God in our lives will be made present again. The symbol of God with us will be made obvious again. We must not despair, we do not have to remain in exile, redemption has been provided.