Do past failures have such a grip on you that they define who you are today? Maybe like Israel you said, “It is no use! I love foreign gods and I must go after them” (Jeremiah 3:25). But now, yesterday’s bad decisions will not leave you alone. You are haunted by memories of what you did or failed to do. No one knows the pain you endure as you weep bitterly every night before you fitfully slide into sleep. You lie dreaming of who you could be, but awake the same person. Other Christians are too busy to listen, seemingly indifferent or unworthy of your trust. You’re not even sure if you want anyone to know who you really are for fear of rejection. So, you keep wearing the smile you work so hard to paste on. Alas, you conclude that no matter how hard you try, the course you have set for yourself cannot be changed.
Dear one, maybe like Judah you are barren with nothing to offer. The locusts of your life have eaten up your joy, dreams and purpose. According the prophet Joel, the locusts had eaten up everything in Judah, “The fields are ruined, the ground is dried up; the grain is destroyed, the new wine is dried up, the oil fails. Despair, you farmers, wail you vinegrowers; grieve for the wheat and barley because the harvest is destroyed” (Joel 1:10-11). The farmers and vine growers were told to wail because of what had taken place. The land was barren with nothing to offer its inhabitants. Without food for their animals or themselves, they would soon die. The Lord had allowed his judgment to fall upon them because of their sin.
But, Ahhhh! Take a deep breath. Let your mind and heart ingest what the Lord says to Judah in chapter two, “I will repay you for the years that the locust have eaten” (Joel 2:25a). What a soul refreshing promise! God was going to restore the land for his people although they were the cause of their own suffering. He was going to repay them for what was lost.
God has proclaimed that he is, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion, and sin . . .” (Exodus 34:6,7a). He forgives you, so loosen your clutch on the past! Let your compassionate and gracious God who is abounding in love and faithfulness instill truth into your heart and mind. In Jeremiah 32:27 he says, “I am the God of all flesh, is there anything to hard for me?” Of course the answer is, “No!” If nothing is too hard for him, then neither is you restoration, no matter what you’ve done. As well as restoring the years that the locusts have eaten for Judah, he promises to take pity on them and send them new grain, new wine and new oil so that they will be fully satisfied (Joel 2:18-19). He will do the same for you, if you turn to him and ask him. Believe his promises.
During Lent I will not be writing new posts but will be scheduling older posts to be reposted. These are some that I think are dandy. Blessings to you these 40 days as you walk with Christ through the wilderness.