Joel + Revelation

Farley Sanderford

March 3, 2016

Joel 2:24-27

24 “The threshing floors shall be full of grain;

   the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.

25 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.

26 “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,

   and praise the name of the Lord your God,

   who has dealt wondrously with you.

And my people shall never again be put to shame.

27 You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,

   and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.

And my people shall never again be put to shame.

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This year, I am participating in a 32-week study of Revelation. I came into it with some feelings of intimidation, mostly because I have never studied this book before, and so I was worried about the symbolism, visions, and apocalyptic imagery that I would encounter.

I am currently about halfway through the study, and so far, I’m learning so much, though I am still a little uncertain about the deeper theological ideas. In order to have a better understanding of some contextual material, we are also looking at other prophetic writings in both the Old and New Testament, including some scripture in the book of Joel. Biblical agreement of not only the material, but also the consistency of the heart of God throughout the whole Bible, has shone through in the study of Revelation.

When I came across these verses in Joel, the words struck me deeply in my heart.

I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten.

The lost years.

God, our Great Redeemer, will restore the years that have been lost to the locusts.

The foolishness.

The self-destructive behaviors.

The misguided decisions.

The anguish.

The aimless wandering.

All the years that were wasted, He will not make them disappear, but He will acknowledge them, and use them to bring about something good. I have seen this in my own life. All the suffering, whether self-inflicted or otherwise, has been part of God’s great redemptive story for me. Although there have been several seasons of my life that, looking back, seem to be filled with purposelessness and pain, and even though I have not yet seen the full restoration of these seasons, I know that God is working to bring renewal in His good time and in His own way.

God, our Creator, not only created the whole earth and everything in it, but He also continues to create, whether through our circumstances, our gifts and talents, or the physical world. The Creator is the Artist of the universe. He is masterful at taking something broken — our hearts, our minds, our lives — and making it into something that brings Him the glory He deserves and is a beautiful representation.

So when I think back on those years the locusts destroyed, I am sad the loss I experienced, but I am also filled with hope. The Artist of my world and my heart is working diligently to bring all things, even the brokenness of my past, together to make a lovely canvas. And all of this — the pain, the work of redemption, and the final product — is all for His glory and fame.

Nothing is beyond the repair of the Father. No locusts can completely destroy our years or our lives. God, our Heavenly Redeemer, can and will bring good out of any life or situation, so that no years are truly wasted.