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According to a recent survey, 25% of people regard a recession as a blessing in disguise. They say it causes them to make needed changes in their lifestyle. Trouble often leads to changes in behavior. Ancient Israel found that out the hard way. God kept telling them that if they did not change their ways, judgment would come. Instead of listening to the prophets, the people mocked and scoffed at the prophets and despised their words. Finally, judgment came. God let the Babylonians invade the land. They killed multitudes of young men and women, showing no mercy. They seized all the treasures from the temple and the king’s palace. Before they left, they burned down the temple, the palace, and every building of value. Then they took the best and brightest of the people to Babylon. In that strange land, the people suffered for 70 years–just as the prophet Jeremiah had predicted. When 70 years ended, God allowed Cyrus to conquer Babylon. He decreed that the people were now free to go home. Those 70 years sifted out many who were not committed to the LORD. Exile strengthened the remaining remnant who could now build a better future. Difficulty for a nation or an individual can be a blessing in disguise–if it causes us to draw closer to God. Trouble can strengthen us so that, like an eagle, we can fly above the storms of life.

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