I was reading the scriptures this morning and came across this truly hopeful verse.
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten. Joel 2:25 (KJV)
I’ve seen pictures of locus infested areas and these grasshopper looking insects can do a lot of damage. Leaves and crops look scorched after the locusts have been there.
In the scriptures, the book of Joel concerns describes a terrible locust plague that causes starvation for animals and humans. This locust horde rips through the land and devours everything. The prophet, Joel, reminds us of a number of important points: God is at work in the world, there are consequences to human behavior, lament and repentance are appropriate responses to disaster and hope is always the last word.
I started thinking of how seldom people actually lament – even the word itself is rarely used. It’s not unusual to hear people complain, yell, excuse and blame others when things don’t go well because of their wrongdoing. But lament? – not often. Pride often keeps us from feeling and expressing sorrow or regret for something that we’ve done. We do not stop and authentically mourn the loss that so often results from our wrong doing – we just go around it and hope we’ll be OK. We settle with so much less because we committed to pretense.
Sadly, we miss the lesson that ultimately will make us wiser.
I recently read the following story – I like the illustration.
I am currently the high school varsity boys’ basketball coach. One of my guys will make a frustratingly bad pass, and I’ll hear a teammate try to sooth the tension with a “don’t worry about it” comment. NO, guys…WORRY ABOUT IT. This is a PROBLEM, and it needs to be fixed. We don’t need to smooth the waters; we need to fix a turnover problem. Unless we realize the affect that our bad passing decisions are costing our season, the problem will never be dealt with, and we will never win.
It is appropriate to lament our wrong doing. Spiritually, we need to fully understand the consequences of our sin. When we see our wrongdoing from a healthy and honest perspective, only then are we moved to choose different roads of travel the next time around. Pain, whether it be physical or emotional, tells a story and we ought to listen well.
I am a firm believer that God does not waste pain of any kind in our lives. God alone can restore to us the years that the swarming locusts have eaten, no matter how bad the damage.
We can be restored. Rebuilt. Changed from the inside out.
This gives me great hope.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5.10 NIV