I feel so restless I could bite someone. Winter is stretching far past its ‘use by’ date and with every passing day the longing for spring grows greater, the belief that it will never come stronger.
I feel like I am in exile.
Banished to the land of “Forever Winter”. Lost in the White Witch’s spell of “Always winter and never Christmas”. The video above, created by a friend, completely captures how I feel.
I do everything I know to do to cope with this restlessness:
- I work
- I exercise
- I read
- I write
- I bake bread, muffins, cookies
- I play games
- I watch Brooklyn Nine Nine, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Nashville, Figure Skating. (yup – I watch a lot of TV during Exile)
But the restlessness pursues and I feel like I’m climbing the walls.
Exiled. Marooned. Banished.
The prophets write a great deal about exile and a people in exile. And it is no coincidence that God is speaking to me through the prophetic voices of Isaiah and Jeremiah. Speaking to me, a 21st century woman, and confronting, convicting me.
Jeremiah had a strong message for a people in exile. In fact chapter 29 of the book is devoted to those living in exile. And he offers instruction, hope, and warning.
The instruction is basically to keep on living life. Despite the exile, despite not being in the place they belong, the place they wish to be, despite wanting to (perhaps) bite someone, they are to build houses, settle down, have kids, “Seek the welfare of the city in which they live”.
The hope is a look to the future – a look to when the people of Israel will be back in a place where they belong, where God will show them a future that includes Him, answers to prayers, fulfillment of longings.
And then there is the warning – the part I want to skip over or write out of the narrative. Because the warning is as clear and straightforward as the instruction and the hope. The warning has to do with not listening, with not heeding words that have come from God and have been said again. And again. And again. Words that came from God and through prophets.
So in this time where I feel exiled, even though I’m really not; where I feel far from where I want to be, the words of Jeremiah creep into my waking and my sleeping. Words of truth about exile.
Words that include God bringing me out of, back from, but most of all — faithfully through exile.
Do you feel exiled? How do you deal?