I have lived in Hawaii for four and a half years. I have wanted to leave Hawaii for four years.
At times the desire to leave has been desperate, like being half-way stuck in a coat and almost unable to move. Claustrophobia, panic and disgust all mingled together until it is difficult to draw breath.
Other times it is simply an ache; dull, throbbing and ever-present. You just keep going and moving but the ache is always there.
So many reasons have kept me here in 'Paradise', or so I have told myself and others...but I have come to realize that one thing and one thing alone has been both the reason for my coming and the reason for my staying. That thing will also be the reason for my going.
That reason is God. He brought us here and HE alone has kept us here. I do not know why, but then no one knows why with God.
Over ten years ago I found what I call my 'Life Verse'. For more than ten years I have clung to this verse like a drowning rat to a bit of wood. Okay, perhaps more like a small child to her favorite bunny. (I hate rats anyway) This verse has comforted me though good times and bad. I have held to it's promise during the darkest times of my life (okay, not unlike a drowning rat).
One would think that I would have read the surrounding verses at some point during those ten long years. If I have, then I have never really understood them until now. But that too seems to have been the work of God.
HE has brought new verses into my life at this time...this moment of cross-roads. I don't know what they mean for me now, but they too have brought me comfort and for that I am grateful. No. More than grateful. They have pulled the coat from my struggling body and allowed me to breathe again.
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them," declares the LORD.
10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. [b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."
I do not know when, or in what circumstances it will happen, but I do know this: God will bring me HOME.