My twin brother, Byron, and I had just gotten out of Navy Boot Camp. It was eleven weeks away from home for the first time. We had been training with men we hadn't met before basic training. Each of us was being trained to become dependent on each other, and not on our families back home. This was necessary for military discipline, but who wants to have home and family driven out of our minds.
We were excited because after a long taxi ride to the airport we were at the ticket counter and checking in. The ticket-lady looked at us sadly and said, "I'm sorry, but your flight's final call is in 4 minutes and it is all the way across the airport." (What we didn't know was that the airport's building was about a mile long. We had 4 minutes, and my first thought was the record about that time in the mile was four minutes. We took our heavy sea bags (c. 50-60 lbs), threw them up on our shoulders and started running. We didn't care what we looked like, we just wanted to make our flight. We were running full speed past people riding the moving sidewalks that moved at a pretty good clip, themselves. We ran with fear and determination! We did not want to miss our flight, but both of us admitted later that we thought it was a lost cause from the beginning! (But we ran!)
When we arrived at the gate for boarding, the lady was just getting ready to snap the gate chain to close the ramp to prevent anyone else from getting on the plane. We still weren't sure we were going to make the flight. Then we heard some really special words, "Gentlemen, you made it just in time! Let me see your tickets, please." What a glorious sound to our ears! We had made it against the odds. To this day, I don't know how we did it, or if they had held the flight via word from the front gate. All we knew was that we were going home!
Isaiah was writing to people whom the Lord would soon punish because of their sin. The Babylonian Captivity would uproot them from their homeland from the City of Zion God's City! They were afraid this marked the departure of God's glory from among them! They felt abandoned by God! But it wasn't God who abandoned Israel! It was they who had abandoned God! God's discipline for them did not mean He had abandoned them! God had made His Covenant with Israel, and God is faithful to His promises!
God speaks through Isaiah the prophet a very beautiful command: "1. Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. 3. A voice of one calling: "In the desert prepare the way for the LORD; make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God." (Isaiah 40:1-3)
As my brother and I ran through the airport with our sea bags on our shoulders, I remember hearing people calling out ahead of us, but couldn't make out what they were saying; all I knew was that people ahead of us were turning around, looking at us and clearing a path to let us through. They were clearing the way because they saw some young boys heading for home and they were making a clear path for us.
God has more than covered the cost of Israel's sin, and the world's. As we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord, and remember the glorious and triumphant return of Christ, we also look forward to going home into the mansion prepared for all who trust in Jesus Christ, The Seed of David from the Tribe of Judah came and accomplished all that God had promised. In His promise to return He calls on His Children to be alert and vigilant, for He is coming to take us Home; what a splendid place to go.
We live in the hope and reality of God's victory in Christ, and so the words of verse 1 ring in our ears, "Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for." In my entire life, I have always looked forward to getting home to be with family. It is in and even higher delight that Christians can look forward to being in the presence of God eternally, as God receives us to Himself in the fullness of joy in Christ.
A Blessed homeward journey,