1 When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,
it was like a dream!
2 We were filled with laughter,
and we sang for joy.
And the other nations said,
“What amazing things the Lord has done for them.”
3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us!
4 Restore our fortunes, Lord,
as streams renew the desert.
5 Those who sow in tears
will harvest with shouts of joy.
6 They weep as they go to plant their seed,
but they sing as they return with the harvest.
Did I dream that? Or did it really happen? It might be a good report from the doctor. I could be an unexpected call from an estranged family member. Was it a Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes win? Probably not the last one, but you might have experienced good news that was almost too good to be true, and you wonder: Is it true?
Reality these days probably doesn’t bring these kinds of good news reports. We’re most used to hearing of another case of COVID-19, or another restaurant closing, or a job loss.
But what will happen when the quarantine is ended? What will happen when the restrictions are lifted? What will happen when things return to normal? We realize that it won’t be the same normal as before. But I wonder how long the awe and relief will wear off, and we will become blasé and indifferent to the relief we so earnestly yearn for.
If we are not to become jaded by God’s blessings to us we will need to be careful, especially in the weeks and months following the relief we so desperately yearn for. It’s so easy to become jaded, complacent, and apathetic toward God: the very One who has rescued us.
This is the story of the entire Old Testament. Peaks of God’s favor are followed by valleys of the people’s unfaithfulness. It seems much the same for us today. Happy days give way to carelessness and complacency which are followed by recession and depression. And we yearn again for the good old days.
It may seem like a dream when this ordeal is finally over. But let’s not grow complacent. Let’s remember God is the One who delivers. And while we may not want to connect our current crisis with a visitation of God’s judgment, we do well to call out to God for mercy in our time of suffering and stress. And when deliverance comes, let’s not think it’s a dream, but rejoice in God’s rescue, and rejoice and sing his praises!
Israel’s return from Babylon was a foreshadowing of the redemption of Jesus, and his resurrection. Jesus resurrection is a foreshadowing for us of a perfect and complete redemption that we will experience on the Great Last Day. Let’s also remember that when this difficulty is lifted from us. That will be a foretaste of the perfect restoration that is yet to come. We won’t be dreaming then.