What the Locusts have Eaten

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“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust…” (Joel 2:25)

It was my birthday recently and this caused me to take stock of my last year.  It was a really good year with quite a lot of new beginnings and a few challenges as well.  But all in all, I am in a much “happier and healthier” place than I was a year ago.  And that is exciting to realize!

After looking back at this last year, I also started to look back on the rest of my life as well.  Self-reflection and reviewing our past are not necessarily bad things.  Sometimes we can find places of our Ebenezers:  places we have set up as reminders of God’s faithfulness in our lives (see 1 Samuel 7:10-12).  I have always loved singing the second verse of the hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing:

“Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here there by Thy great help I’ve come
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home”

However, when taking time to think over my past recently I didn’t exactly start out in a good place with it all.  Instead, I began to grieve and mourn those “lost years” where I felt I had either rebelled against God’s plan for me or He had allowed things to come into my life that stole away my joy and motivation.  While I acknowledged that I am in a good place with God now, I wished it hadn’t taken me so long and so many wasted years to get there!

Yet, even as I used the word “wasted” to describe those years, I knew that with God nothing in our lives is ever wasted.  For He is The Great Redeemer who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go” (Isaiah 48:17-18).  After this realization, I cried out to God to help me see my past with new eyes – His Eyes – and to realize that often the journey itself is more important than reaching a particular destination.  So, maybe this was a journey which was necessary for me to take?

Even as I had this realization about my past being a necessary journey, I began to compare my journey with the ones that others have taken (never a healthy thing to do!) and I got mad and sad all over again.  I wondered why it seemed to take them a shorter amount of time to find His truths for their lives and why I couldn’t have also learned it then too.

In the midst of this little pity party, the verse from Joel 2 came to mind about how “I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten” and that verse became a gift from God at that moment.  I felt Him saying not to worry and fret over those “wasted years” for He will redeem them.  I’m not sure the exact context of this verse but all I know is that for me, right then, it was a powerful reminder!

As I looked it up in my Bible, I saw that the very next verse says this: You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you…” (Joel 2:26).  That verse made me stop in my tracks too.  For, if I believe that God has dealt wondrously with me now, then I have to believe that He had a reason for allowing the locusts to come in those previous years as well.  

Again the word, “Redeem” comes to mind here.  Its dictionary definition says this: “to free from what distresses or harms… to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental… to release from blame or debt… to free from the consequences of sin.”  I realized that God has redeemed me through His son, Jesus, in so many ways and restoring the years the locusts have eaten is simply ONE of them!

An antonym for redeem is “Abandon.”  As in the fact that my God did not abandon me during those years and has certainly not abandoned me now.  For, just as the concept of God restoring the “years the locusts have eaten” can be powerful in my life, so also can be the understanding that He is always with me.

Therefore, I’ll end with this quote from a blog post I read recently: “You might not get an answer to your “why” questions, but the cross — God’s grand eraser — tells us one thing about suffering: It’s NOT happening because God doesn’t care about us, or because He has forgotten us.  The cross reminds us everything has been (and will be) made right.”

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust…” (Joel 2:25)

 

Love to Hear Your Thoughts!