Read Ezekiel 36:24-26
24 For I will gather you up from all the nations and bring you home again to your land.
25 “Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean. Your filth will be washed away, and you will no longer worship idols. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. (NLT)
We can sometimes mistakenly conclude that the good times have ended. It is as if we have a certain quota of good things that can happen to us and we have fulfilled that quota. From here on, it is all downhill. When age creeps up on us, when the medical results are not good, when the children have flown the coop (or not flown the coop!), when the job comes to an end, we may reckon the game is up. The good times belong in the past.
Not true. As our text reminds us, God seems to delight in offering new beginnings. He reminds the exiled Israelites that they do have a future. Exile is a painful present reality, but it is not the final reality. The good times have come, the bad times are upon them. But in relation to God, there are more good times to come.
What challenges us is that the shape of the good times might change. The good times of energetic athletic endeavour may have gone, but that doesn’t mean we curl up and shrivel away. The good times of regular overseas travel might be in the past but that doesn’t mean our worlds need shrink.
In our endings, there is always the possibility of new beginnings.