“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25 ESV).
My childhood was less than ideal. I experienced multiple forms of abuse, my father was never present, and my mother left us. Later, after reconciling with my mother, she died from cancer. That is an extremely quick insight into what life looked like for a very young Jordon Arnold. Because of the trauma I experienced as a kid, I had decided I was never going to get married, and I would certainly never have kids. It wasn’t because I didn’t desire to be a wife and a mom. But I was afraid.
Joel prophesied a plague of locusts to the people of Judah (Joel 1:4). These locusts would cause terrible destruction to the people of Judah, as well as their crops and their land. The plague of locusts was God’s judgment in response to the people’s sin. This was meant to lead the people to repentance and draw them back to God. Much like the people of Judah, our sin leads to devastating destruction. And because we live in a fallen world, we still experience this destruction in our lives.
In the second chapter of Joel, we see God’s grace. God promised to restore the “years that the swarming locust has eaten” to the people of Judah. Another translation writes, “I will repay you for the years that the swarming locust ate” (v. 25 CSB). This restoration, or repayment, is a picture of the complete restoration that we can only experience through Christ.
God knew the destruction that the plague of locusts caused the people of Judah. He saw their suffering. God wanted to not only end their suffering but to also repay them for what they lost. We may not experience a plague of locusts (I hope), but we still live in a fallen world, so we still experience despair, pain, and suffering. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying that all of your pain is a direct result from your sin. But we do experience the brokenness of this sinful world and our sinful natures on a daily basis.
Teenage Jordon never imagined that God could redeem her and her broken story. She knew that God was (and still is) good. But she doubted that He would bring any good from all of the chaos in her life. Obviously, she was very wrong. You see, God doesn’t leave people how He found them.
My life is completely different than it was. But it’s not from any effort of my own. This is by no means a story about me changing my life and turning out to be a great person in spite of my former circumstances. This is about how God has chosen to use my broken story to show others how powerful and faithful He is. Honestly, this isn’t about me at all. It is about the glory and grace of God. Period.
Like the people of Judah, we have all experienced devastating circumstances in our lives. Even so, God still has a plan for you. He will love you with a redeeming love that you can only truly experience through Christ Jesus.
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He Who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23 ESV).
He is still restoring.