It all began close to four months ago when two American journalists working in China, accidentally crossed the border into North Korea. Laura Ling and Euna Lee were arrested and tried for illegal immigration and plotting to start an anti-government smear campaign. In June, a North Korean judge sentenced them to twelve years imprisonment with hard labour.
I can only imagine the dread they felt each night in their cells, yearning for their families and wondering about their dismal, unending future. Imagine the terror they must have felt as the warden opened their cells doors on Tuesday morning and led them out. I'm sure that they believed they were headed to the labour camp.
Instead, authorities led them into a room, where they were greeted by former U.S. President Bill Clinton. Clinton had negotiated their release and they headed home immediately.
Like those women in prison, we tend to believe that life's tribulations are here to stay. We don't know how we landed up in this mess, why people accuse us and abuse us for things we never did. We have a dim memory of long ago believing that we'd break free of a life tainted by anti-Semitism, crime, financial stress and family meltdown. But, we've become cynical. Statistics convince us that life doesn't get better, it gets worse. "No news is good news" becomes our mantra, we'd rather live with the devils we know because we're too afraid of who lurks behind the door.
This Shabbos we will read the eternal words of Isaiah: "
One day it will happen. One day the door will open and G-d's own envoy will be standing there. And we will return home. That day is sooner than we imagine.