The Years the Locusts Have Eaten

locust swarmIf God has brought you through or is currently bringing you through such a season in your life, the phrase resonates to the very depths of your soul.

Years of your life have been eaten by locusts.

Substantial devastation and loss have taken place in your life.

Sometimes as a result of:

  • Consequences of your own sinful choices
  • Sinful actions of others done against you
  • Health or physical struggles
  • Spiritual oppression

To which God gives an amazing promise of restoration:

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten — the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you.

You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you; never again will my people be shamed.

Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other; never again will my people be shamed. – Joel 2:25-27

The how and when of His restoration in our lives is up to Him. This promise isn’t like an insurance claim we wave before God and demand repayment of our own choosing. Rather, it is a promise of His own righteous restoration and redemption of the destruction and loss that has taken place in our lives.

It is a promise of hope in the devastation that once was a life of abundance.

In His promise, God makes a statement that resounds with His ultimate sovereignty, “. . . My great army that I sent among you.” (Joel 2:25)

God allowed the locusts that have eaten years of our lives. He is the Blessed Controller of ALL things (1 Tim 6:15). No plan of His can be thwarted (Job 42:2). What He has said, that will He bring about; what He has planned, that He will do (Is 46:9-11).

Could God have prevented the locusts from eating years of our lives?
Absolutely, and yet He chose not to do so.

Why?

We would do well to join Job in his conclusion after trying to reason, argue, and demand to know the “whys” from God for his suffering in Job 42:1-5:

Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.

You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’

Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 

He is the Potter and we are the clay (Is 45:9). He is our Maker and Creator and He owes us nothing, and yet delights to give us everything (Rm 8:32).

In 2000, I developed Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. In my early 20’s, it cost me my job, friends, ministry, and health. In 2003, I started having an intercessory prayer team pray over me. As these prayer sessions continued, it became evident that I was not only dealing with physical issues but also a large degree of spiritual oppression.

Before my prayer session in May 2006, I was walking and praying. As I was walking through a playground, I came across 7 folded one dollar bills. As I picked them up, I marveled at how they hadn’t been taken or strewn across the playground and road by the wind. As I held them in my hand, I sensed Father said, “You’ve almost had chronic fatigue for 7 years. I will restore the years the locusts have eaten in your life.”

At that time, I only vaguely knew the promise of Joel 2:25-27. Only after I looked it up, did Father start to connect this promise in Scripture with what He was about to do in my life.

Before Jesus would heal someone, He would ask a very interesting question, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mt 20:32, Mk 10:36, Mk 10:51, Lk 18:41)

The curious nature of this question comes when we remember that Jesus was fully God and fully man during His time of walking the earth, thus He was all-knowing. He knew what they wanted Him to do for them . . . and yet, Jesus wanted them to say it, to believe it, and to own it for themselves.

So too it is with Father’s promises, He wants us to say them, believe them, and own them for ourselves. And one of the hardest times to do that is after experiencing the years the locusts have eaten.

It’s tough some mornings to get out of bed and be faced once again with the devastation, let alone believe a seemingly outlandish promise that God’s going to redeem all this ravaging loss that has clung to your life like frost clings to grass.

Still, Jesus asks . . . and may we be like the father in Mark 9:24 who exclaims in reply, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

I pray we believe Him to redeem the years the locusts have eaten in our lives. He will.

Rest Ministries is great resource for those who struggle with chronic illness or pain.

photo credit: The Wild Center via photo pin cc

Focus Lies [Poem]

 

standing on the edge

He had been sick for thirty-eight years

He laid in crowds of the blind, the lame, and the paralyzed
Someone always got to the water ahead of him
His life was a loss because of what he could not do

Jesus came to him one day and asked, “Would you like to get well?”
It must’ve almost seemed like mockery to be asked such a thing
But with one glance into Jesus’ eyes
The man knew His love was true
Yet his focus was not on the Savior but rather the pool
He told the One who works miracles, “I can’t because. . .”

How many of us also spend our lives by the pool
losing hope each time someone else gets there ahead of us
We wonder why our limitations and suffering go on and on
And why after all the tears we’ve cried
Jesus still asks us the question of
“Would you like to get well?”
As we gutturally reply, “Yes!. . .a million times yes!”

So often we’re so focused on the pool that we don’t see our Healer
Yet Jesus comes to us anyway
and quietly reminds us that it’s our fears that hold us captive
our bodies can be sick
but our spirits can be free
when we take our focus off of the pool and fix our eyes on our Savior
who inwardly renews us day by day
even as our bodies waste away (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

“Where does your focus lie?” He asks with a twinkle in His eye
Would you like to get well?
Would you like to be free regardless of the limitations and suffering that seem to weigh you down and hold you back?
My strength is limitless, My grace is fathomless,
My love is unfailing and My faithfulness is unending
My power enables you to be alive and even to thrive
Whether you’re laying by the pool or taking up your mat and walking away
Let your focus be on Me and I will use you mightily
And one day you will see how I redeemed every moment you laid by the pool

Originally published in August 2007 and later added to my poem book, His ComfortBased on John 5:1-9

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For more encouragement, Rest Ministries is a great resource for those who live with chronic illness or pain.

My Journey: I developed chronic fatigue syndrome in 2000. In November 2007, Father miraculously healed me of it. I continue to walk in His strength even as I daily deal with the effects of a weakened immune system — prone to fatigue and infection – 2 Cor 12:9-10.

photo credit: selkovjr via photopin cc

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