The Heartbeat of Destiny

Francis Frangipane

The prophet Jeremiah had warned that, unless Israel repented, Jerusalem itself would be destroyed. And so it happened: King Nebuchadnezzar’s armies laid siege against Jerusalem. No food or supplies entered the city; Jerusalem eventually was utterly devastated. As the Lamentations of Jeremiah declare, the surviving Jews were carried off to captivity. It was one of the bleakest times in Israel’s history.

Yet, it is written that the Lord "does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him" (2 Sam. 14:14). Thus, even though the Jews went into exile, the Lord had already purposed to restore Israel. He said,

"'When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’" (Jer. 29:10-11).

I love this about the Lord: He is the God of restoration. The Lord had "plans . . . to give [the exiled Jews] a future and a hope." Just as there was a time of exile, so there would be a time for restoration. No matter what things looked like during the time of captivity, the Lord desired to restore His people.

Comfortable With Captivity
Yet, for some of the exiled Jews, restoration to the holy land seemed unimaginable. When the grace came to bring Israel back, many chose instead to stay in Babylon. The familiarity of their captivity nestled them into Jewish enclaves. They eventually began to root in Persia and Babylon, and even prosper. In time, they grew comfortable in the land of their exile. Indeed, to this day, the descendants of these exiles still live in Jewish communities in Iran.

Yet, among the exiles, thousands did, in fact, recognize the heartbeat of destiny. God’s Spirit stirred them. He awakened a holy dissatisfaction with their present circumstances. In their spirit, they felt the excitement of divine anticipation calling them to their eternal purpose. The time of restoration was at hand, and they returned to the promised land and rebuilt the temple of God.

Seasons of Restoration

Today, for Christians, we too must guard against becoming comfortable in Babylon, the land of our exile. Babylon is a land of intoxication (see Rev. 17-18). The Holy Spirit desires to restore us, not to a distant geographic place, but to the image and power of God’s Son. It is this spiritual life - the "measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ" - that is our "promised land" (Eph. 4:13).

Thus, every time I read the Scriptures and I see the magnificence of God’s promises to the church, I lament that so many of us are still living in exile. Do you not also feel this longing for more? Is there not something in you that desires to walk in the fullness of what God has promised?

Yet, let us remember: just as the Lord restored the Jews to their land, He desires to restore His church to Christlikeness. Let us not despair or lose hope! For before Jesus returns, there is an unfolding season of restoration. Yes, even today, the true, born-again church is living in the period the Bible identifies as the "restoration of all things" (Acts 3:19-21). If we will not lose heart, God has promised a season when His church shall walk in fullness! The works Christ did, we shall also do (John 14:12). We shall "be filled [through all our being] unto all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:19-21 Amp).

From Glory to Glory
Let me also say for the soul that has been embattled, God cares about your individual restoration. Just as the Lord restored David’s soul (Ps. 23:3), He desires to restore to us what we have lost. No matter what we have gone through, even if we’ve fallen and failed or grown weary, the Holy Spirit is seeking our restoration. Even if you feel shamed and self-condemned, the Lord has a word for you. He says,

"Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more" (Isa. 54:4).

We must not allow our hearts to remain planted in standards fashioned in Babylon. Remember, though some Jews remained in captivity, many thousands returned during the restoration. They returned to possess what God had promised.

Let us also advance with confidence toward the fullness of Christ. Let us embrace the heartbeat of destiny, for the Lord delights in our restoration!

Purity and Commitment

Francis Frangipane

I dreamt I was the pastor of a small orphanage in Asia. The orphanage owned an old pickup truck that was in need of repair; I was lying on my side examining the undercarriage when, suddenly, soldiers pulled into our little compound and jumped out of their vehicles. They were looking for me, "the American missionary." If they found me, it meant I would be tortured and imprisoned. Since they hadn’t harmed any of the children or other workers, I felt my best recourse was to simply lie still, as I was somewhat hidden, and pray they left quickly.

I could see their boots as they walked toward the other side of the truck where I was lying. I had a glass of water in my hand. However, when I tried to put it down onto the pavement, it began to rattle, so I stopped and held it in midair. Soon, my hand was trembling because of the awkward way I was lying and also because of the nearness of the troops. Suddenly, I felt two hands firmly touch the sides of my middle back. The hands calmed and strengthened me. They were the hands of a friend of mine, a recent convert to Christ, who was one of the workers at the orphanage. As was the custom in this Asian culture, this young believer had taken a spiritual name that represented one’s new nature in Christ; that name was "Purity and Commitment."

The soldiers left and peace returned to the mission. Yet, the touch of the hands that had steadied me, also roused me from my sleep. And as I stirred, I awakened to the most exquisite fragrance. It was unlike any fragrance I've ever known. Its sweetness not only filled the room, but it washed the air like the cleansing after a thunderstorm. I honestly have never known any fragrance more beautiful or captivating.

As I waited before the Lord, the Holy Spirit warned that difficult tests were coming. In some lands there will be martial law and increased government crackdowns on Christians; in other places, temptations of the flesh would increase. These days will be difficult for many Christians. He said we will be tempted, but if we embrace "purity and commitment" as our friend, we would find new strength steadying us in our time of need.

Finally, as the fragrance continued in the room, I understood that this was what the Lord inhaled when His children stayed committed to Him during battle. I realized that, when we purpose to stay pure in spite of temptation, we literally become "a fragrance of Christ to God . . ." (2 Cor. 2:15).