Joel 2:25a NIV “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten..."
I've heard this verse quoted many times in relation to suffering, loss, mistakes made & mistakes on the mend... I'm wandering through my own wasteland of sorts... I've seen my share of locusts in life. But I find it interesting that whenever someone brings up this scripture, there's a line that remains unspoken, like an elephant in the corner.
It goes like this:
Joel 2:25b NLT "It was I who sent this great destroying army against you".
That "I" is God. No one wants to hear that. God is benevolent afterall. Hes the Father of lights who gives good things to His children. This statement has the potential to mess with us, to prove our fears that we're at the mercy of some maniacal cosmic dictator. We can't dare consider that God is the author of our losses. We can't fathom that He would stand by & let us endure such pain.
We want to hear about our fortunes being restored. We want to have peace instead of anxiety. We want to know we'll be filled, not famished. We want justice for the wrongs done to us. But what if God, the very One to Whom we cry out, has "set us up"? What would be the point? Consider Job. God allowed Satan to inflict Job with all kinds of suffering. He faced loss & suffering simply because God was out to prove something- that Job was blameless. What a great way to reward someone for their faithfulness! In the end, even though Job had lost it all, God restored everything & then some. Was God unjust? No. Why? Because truly, Job was at His mercy. Did Job come away from the ordeal bitter or reverent? Do we find him full of pride at the end of the story? Was he reveling in the justification of his innocence, or was he instead humbled? What if Job HAD come away bitter, puffed up with pride in his own righteousness & justification? He would have surely missed the blessings that God had for him.
In my own life, I've had my share of losses, mistakes & injustices endured. They seemed like a curse in the moment. But now that some years have passed between me & those things, I have a better perspective. I'm beginning to see the worth of the curse. God sent (or allowed) a great destroying army of circumstances against me so I would cry out to Him. I'm far from blameless, but like Job I can say, " I had only heard about God before, but now I have seen God with my own eyes." Job's trials revealed his humanity & the corruption of the world around him. But more importantly, Job's trials revealed God's presence in the midst of it all.
My God, He is Lord of the locusts, Lord of the recompense.