“Where is God when there are wars and sicknesses? Where is God when my friends are hurting?” If you’ve asked these questions, you’re not alone. People have been wondering for thousands of years. One person who responded to these questions was Ezekiel, a messenger to God’s people, the Israelites.
Ezekiel preached truths about God and the world, messages of warning and of hope that are written in the book of Ezekiel in the Bible. This book opens with a dramatic vision of God’s holiness. He is the Perfect Creator and Ruler of the universe, far greater than our understanding. And since God is perfect, He cannot ignore sin and evil. Sin goes against God’s good ways and separates us from His goodness. Ezekiel reminds the people that God warned them of the danger of sin. Still, they refused to listen. So, as a consequence, God punished them and let the people go into exile far from home.
But there was hope. When everything was going wrong—in the midst of hurt, wars, and exile—God promised to be with His people, and one day, to bring them back home. And He promised a new Spirit that would help them live in His ways (Ezekiel 11:19). Those are a lot of big promises, but they were fulfilled over five hundred years later in Jesus, who is God in flesh. He is called Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). When everything goes wrong and we wonder where God is, He is right there with us. Jesus lived a perfect life and died to forgive our sins. Then He rose again from death to rescue us so we can be with our loving God forever. Finally, after Jesus ascended, God sent His Holy Spirit to be in us. The Holy Spirit gives us comfort and hope, guiding us and helping us live in God’s good ways as we wait for Jesus to return and make all things new (John 14:26).
The end of Ezekiel has a beautiful picture of God’s people returning to the land He promised to give them, where He will dwell with them forever. And we have hope of the renewed creation, when we will live with Jesus forever in God’s perfect kingdom! • Abby Ciona
• Do you ever feel like God is far away? We all have these feelings, and we can tell God about them anytime. To remind us of God’s constant presence, we can read verses like John 14:25-31 and Matthew 28:20. Who is a trusted Christian in your life who you could talk with about these things? If nobody comes to mind, you can ask God to help you identify someone in the future.
“I will put my Spirit in you and you will live.” Ezekiel 37:14a (NIV)