Verse of the Day


"Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten,"

~Joel 2:25a


Today's Devotional Thought

July 23, 2015 by Wendy Foreman



image



Restoration God's Way

This past Friday night we had our community quarterly women's gathering called the {BE} GATHERING at our church and Rachel and I shared bits and pieces of our life stories. As I spent time over the weekend reflecting on the evening and praising God for his work among the ladies, I remembered a part of my story that I haven't been able to shake. So, I went to writing this devotional in hopes that it will encourage you today.

Five years ago I was questioning God about where I was in my life. I was in the midst of depression and was on medication and emotionally I was in a better place but I still had so many questions about what had put me in the depression to begin with. Answers weren't coming and the anger, or maybe a better word would be the frustration I was feeling, was building. So out of that frustration, I opened up scripture and asked the Lord to give me something to help me with where I was.

I found myself in the book of Joel; yes there is a book in the Bible with that name. Now I will be honest, I don't know that I had ever read the book of Joel before this time. As I read this short book of the Bible, I was a bit confused on why the Lord had led me there of all places. Why not somewhere in Psalms? I asked the Lord to reveal to me just what exactly it was that He was trying to show me in the book of Joel.

Now let me pause for just a minute and tell you that the book of Joel is all about God's judgment. It is a cry from the prophet Joel to God's people to repent because God's judgment is coming. It goes on to tell the people that if they repent of their sins and return to the Lord that He will shower them with his kindness, forgiveness and blessings. (That is a really quick overview.)

What I want you to know is that what God showed me that day wasn't about his judgment; it was about restoration.

I want to just be honest with you today about what that day in February 2010 looked like for me. In a nutshell we were living in a new community where my husband was (still is) the Senior Pastor of the Baptist church in town. I had left a job I loved, a home we bought and in a less than a year put on the market, and was in the middle of losing it to the bank. We went from being financially comfortable to leaning on God's provision more than we had in quite some time. We had friendships we said good-bye to, our kids had left a place they called home for 8 years, a place they had grown up in and our oldest was struggling a bit to fit in and adjust. We had worked so hard to get where we were in 2009 when everything changed in our lives and we found ourselves transitioning in life and faced with a lot of challenges and struggles. I felt like the locusts had eaten (taken from me) everything that was good (other than my family). I was angry and frustrated. Life looked so completely different than I thought it would at this point in my life.

That day I read Joel 2:25a "I will repay (restore to) you for the years the locusts have eaten." Verse 26 goes on to say, "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 ashamed."

As I read that passage of scripture I began to cry. I wanted so desperately to feel restored. It felt like the locusts had taken so much from me. It felt as though everything we had worked so hard for was just ripped away.

I knew that God was in the midst of all that had taken place in my life. I knew that he had walked every step with our family and he had provided everything for us to move forward and start a new life.

BUT...

We had lost so much and I couldn't let that go. I began to wonder what restoration looked like and if I would ever truly see it.

Life moved forward and my life began to change. It was full of ministry opportunities that would have never happened where we lived before. God was doing things that were crazy and beyond my wildest dreams. I saw God's hand at every turn and He provided in ways that still have my head spinning. I began to realize that when you get knocked down (when the locusts have taken so much from you), you have a choice to make. How are you going to respond to it? But not only that, but are you going to trust God and in the plan that He has for your life even when it doesn't make sense to you?

It's been 5 1/2 years since that February morning sitting on my couch crying out to God while reading passages in Joel. My heart is overwhelmed and overflowing with gratitude as I look at the restoration in my life. Yes, much was taken from me and it left me feeling very empty, confused, frustrated and angry but in 2015, looking back, I can tell you that what was taken from me has been replaced with what God has always wanted for me I believe and that is a deeper understanding of what is truly important and what truly matters. I am not even the same person I was. God has used all that happened to me to build me to be a stronger woman of God.

So as I look at my story, though it is full of many tears, anguish, frustration, depression and anxiousness, I am also aware that all of those He has used to refine, mold, teach, and show me his faithfulness, goodness, mercy, grace and love.

As I close today I want you to know that I am praying for you. I don't know what the locusts have eaten in your life. But I do pray that you will experience restoration in your life. It doesn't always look the way you think it will but friend when God does bring it I promise you it will be good.


Memorize this verse today:

"Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten,"
~Joel 2:25a



Copyright 2014 © After the Miracle. All rights reserved.
    |         |     Partners Links