“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten.” Joel 2:25
This is the promise I rest on, when all seems dark and lost. When I am crying in my bed, afraid that I will not get through another day.
Everything is lost, I think in despair, there is nothing now to look forward to. And I am reminded of this passage.
But it is my fault. Though others have been involved, and some of my struggles, and many of my flashbacks are related to what others have done to me, I nevertheless claim responsibility to where I am today, and it hurts.
In these moments, reading Job doesn’t help. Job was a righteous man… okay, so Satan sought permission to try him, and Job struggled a lot, but it wasn’t his fault.
Sometimes I seek comfort in the story of Job. Not everyone who suffers does so because of something they have done, or failed to do. Sometimes we can’t understand why bad things happen to good people. Sometimes there is comfort to be found there… but not in these moments.
The story of Joseph, too. Okay, so he bragged a little – or a lot. Still, he didn’t deserve what happened to him. Sold into slavery by his brothers… put into prison for something he didn’t do. He had a hard life, and it was a long time before things started to look up for him. But it wasn’t his fault. At times, there is peace, patience, inspiration to be found in Joseph’s story… but not in these times.
Jacob lied. Moses killed. David took another man’s wife (and so many others) and put him in a place where he would be killed. All of these were used of God anyway, in spite of themselves. I hope I can be used, but I don’t really relate to these men. Not really. The suffered, were tried, and then were used for great things. There is hope there, but not comfort. Not now.
But this! These words. This passage: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten.” That would be wonderful, Lord! I think, But it is my failure that brought me here.
And that little bit of hope that comes with this thought starts to fade.
Read more, God tells me. So I do.
I read about how the Jewish people turned away from God, and were full of sin. In response, God’s wrath is coming against them, and they are in real trouble. Surrounded by enemies, famine, pestilence… The end is near, and it is their fault.
Everything seems hopeless. There is no way out. They deserve this.
And God tells them to return to Him.
They look in the mirror and see themselves as they truly are, and are disgusted. Full of hate for themselves, and what they have done, and cry out to Him. I see myself here, in my worst moments, I am there, facing that same mirror, and hating all of me.
And He gives them this promise, as He has given to me: “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locusts have eaten.”
Which ones? I ask.
All of them, He tells me.
And there I find my comfort.