“Therefore, tell the exiles, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Although I have scattered you in the countries of the world, I will be a sanctuary to you during your time in exile.” (Ezekiel 11:16 NLT)
God gave this promise during a difficult time in Israel’s history. Enemy nations had attacked and defeated them, and as a result, many of the Jews had been killed, while others had been carried off into captivity. Then there were those, like the crippled and elderly, who had been left behind with little to help them survive. The circumstances could not have been bleaker, yet God promised to be a sanctuary for each of them during their time of trouble.
We often wonder why God allows us to suffer. To many of us, it may seem at such times that God has abandoned us or that He doesn’t care. Yet scripture teaches us that God often uses difficult times as a way of developing a deeper relationship with us.
Years ago we used to sing a hymn entitled, “Till the Storm Passes By.” Carefully consider the words of this great song,
In the dark of the midnight – Have I oft hid my face;
While the storm howls above me – And there’s no hiding place;
‘Mid the crash of the thunder – Precious Lord, hear my cry;
“Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by.”
Many times Satan whispers – “There is no need to try;
For there’s no end of sorrow – There’s no hope by and by”;
But I know Thou art with me – And tomorrow I’ll rise;
Where the storms never darken the skies.
When the long night has ended – And the storms come no more,
Let me stand in Thy presence – On that bright, peaceful shore.
In that land where the tempest – Never comes, Lord may I
Dwell with Thee when the storm passes by.
‘Til the storm passes over – ‘Til the thunder sounds no more;
‘Til the clouds roll forever from the sky,
Hold me fast, let me stand – In the hollow of Thy hand;
Keep me safe ’til the storm passes by.