“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.”
Joel 2:25 ESV
I’ve spent a lot of the recent days of my life talking about Joel 2:25 and what it means to me. Look at this blog. The whole thing is centered around this one verse! When this verse was given to me, I was going through a very rough time. I couldn’t accept there was a part of my life I was never going to get back. Then someone came along and showed me this verse. Then another person. At that point, I realized this verse was going to carry me through every single loss I experience for the rest of my life. It was almost like a vow God made to me.
We all spend days, months, years – even seconds, building our lives. Then we meet people; and together we continue to build. Our whole lives are built around relationships. I don’t believe God did this by accident. Oh no, I believe He did it on purpose in order to bring more people into relationships with Him.
There is a well known statistic stating that people get “saved” between the ages of 4 and 14. In my experience, I would have to think this is ridiculous. However, we know people who have become Christians at a very young age and stayed the course. We’ve also known people, like myself, who said a little prayer, shed some tears and then got a certificate of fire insurance. I think its safe to use the 80/20 rule for this, wouldn’t you?
The biggest thing here that needs to be pointed out is how these kids are “saved.” It is only one thing: Relationships. They have relationships with people they trust. Then in turn, these people share a simplified version of the Gospel and God swoops in. At that point, do all these kids get saved? Probably not legitimately but the seed has been planted. Some people grow fast. Others, like me, well, they grow slow – at a snail’s pace. In my case, this in turn has ruined my relationships with Christians. The church is already full of ugly people, I fit right in and even they made me feel uglier. I’m okay with that though. Believe me, I really am.
I have failed so much over the years. More specifically, in my relationship with God. I’ve had these amazing things happen to me. Things that would amaze anyone. The most amazing being my regeneration. But over the years, I have continuously fallen back into the same stuff like any human would, but I just fall back harder. Now, I can not even talk about God and be taken seriously sometimes. Especially in my closer relationships with family and friends. It’s always, “Sure, you said that the last time.” or “Remember that time you got saved?” The ridicule has become sort of a thing for me, that pushes me closer to God. What else would I do? I am so far from being that guy that leaves the church because everyone is a legalistic twit.
Coming full circle and back to Joel 2:25. Recently I’ve been involved in some things that have severely hurt a specific relationship. On top of that, I realized how wounded and tattered my relationship with God was – in that moment. Actually, it was non-existent. So here I am again, the biggest screw-up known to man and God is shaking my world like a 4 year old with an Etch-A-Sketch. It’s one of those things where you are in a pool of sewage wondering how you even got there and why you never noticed the smell for so long. God has a way of leaving us dumbfounded.
“I will restore to you the years that’s the swarming locusts have eaten…” Then arrives that moment when I realized I’ve always been the locust. I’m so shaken by this and yet comforted knowing that God restores the things he gave me; after I destroyed them! Me! I ruined them and God assures me of His great mercy.
I am awestruck at the amount of patience God has for me. Simply awestruck. I am awestruck how the Lord has groomed me to come running to Him after every mistake and every earthshaking event in my life.
There is no better feeling knowing you are being given so much attention and time from your Creator, yet it’s scary too. Like the writer said in Hebrews:
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God.” Hebrews 10:31 ESV
That’s where I am right now.