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Pivot Point 03 | Eventual Restoration

“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, by the great army, which I sent among you. You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you.” (Joel 2:25-26) **Shop Corresponding Artwork Here.

Many enter the New Year with hesitation based on the year or two (or three or four) leading up to it. I know that in our family there have been a string of years that felt like God stripping away and tearing down everything we held so dear. 2023 is the first year in several years that I can look back remembering the difficulty but also being able to say, “It was good.” 


As much as we hate to be in it, life brings us these types of seasons. The seasons upon seasons of stripping away. Whether it be by choices we have made on our own or things that God has allowed, the suffering is the same. 


Deep in the Old Testament, we find Joel prophesying about this kind of season. He was in Judah, prophesying to the Israelites that life as they knew it was about to be over. He says, “What the cutting locust left, the swarming locust has eaten. What the swarming locust left, the hopping locust has eaten, and what the hopping locust left, the destroying locust has eaten.” (Joel 1:4) 


This is when I’m super glad that I didn’t live in Bible times, friend. I can barely handle the cicadas in my yard for the hot months of the summer, but to have all of these different kinds of locusts and bugs eating everything in sight has to have been something else entirely.


Nevertheless, we can assume everything was going to be ravaged and the people were helpless. 


Maybe we are in a similar place today. Maybe we look around at our life and ask “How did we get here?” Or “When will this trail of tears end?” I really do get it, and I am sorry you’re in this place of suffering.


Back in Joel, after a few short chapters of destruction, suddenly there is hope. God tells His people, “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten…” (2:25). Not only that, but they will soon “eat in plenty and be satisfied” (2:26). 


Restoration is coming. Redemption is coming. The hard part is that it doesn’t often look like we want it to, or even like we think that it should. But God reminds repeatedly us in scripture that He is continually making all things new. His plans for us are good, and, in His time, He makes all things good. And that means that He will do this for you, and the years that you have walked through the dry and lonely wilderness. 


So hold onto hope as we enter this new year. Allow yourself to dream and imagine what only God can do in your life. And “return to the Lord your god, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.” (Joel 1:13)


xxx.



Personal Reflection: 


  1. What has God stripped away in my life?

  2. Where have I been turning away from Him and how can I shift that?

  3. What am I hoping for in 2024 that only God can do? Write a quick prayer of surrender in response.

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