by Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith @DrDaltonSmith in Leading Hearts magazine
Over the past month, I’ve witnessed devastation come into the lives of many around me. Tornados stormed through the south leaving a wake of pain and loss. Fire completely consumed the possession of a local family, leaving them clinging to the memories of the past and uncertain about the future. Flood waters swept through, carrying away hope in its path.
What these situations have in common is a feeling of having portions of your life consumed by circumstances beyond your control. They leave you looking back at all those years invested in building and planning with a longing to get back what has been taken from you. I empathize with those walking through this pain because I have experienced it. The circumstances may not be the same, but the feeling of emptiness, grief, and hopelessness are understood.
I have stared at areas of my life languishing from the attack of the “creeping locust, the stripping locust, and the gnawing locust” (Joel 2:25, NASB) and wondered how God could ever restore these years. How can He give back what appears to be forever lost?
One interesting fact about locusts is their innate ability to not only destroy the current year’s crop; they can completely eviscerate the land by eating up all the buds and sprouts, thus making it impossible for the land to recover. After the locusts are done, there is no viable sign of life left in the situation. All that is left is the debris of what once was and now is no more.
Have these feeling ever been a part of your story?
Are there seasons in your life when you were surrounded by loss? In the midst of the questions and the despair, God promises something that sounds impossible. “I will restore the years the swarming locust has eaten.” It sounds impossible because it not simply a promise about the future, but one which stretches our faith to believe God can redeem the time. It’s a promise beyond recovery of the fruit you once had in your possession, but the recovery of what did not bloom in your life during that season because of the deep wounding you experienced. God’s promise of restoration does not erase the loss, but rather returns to you what you were unable to receive during your time of mourning.
What are the most painful years of your life?
It’s normal to resist thinking of these times to avoid awakening the pain, but the restoration of these years requires your willingness to revisit them. Return to the place where the locusts consumed the blessings in your life and left you with bitterness, fear and doubt. Return with the promise that God will restore the years.
What Can God Restore?
God restores your JOY
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (Psalm 51:12, NIV).
God restores your STRENGTH
And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10, ESV).
God restores your HEALTH
“But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 30:17, NIV).
God restores your VISION
Then Jesus laid his hands on his eyes again; and he opened his eyes, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly (Mark 8:25, NIV).
God restores your FINANCES
After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10, NIV).
God restore yours SOUL
He restores my soul (Psalm 23:3, ESV).
God restores your WOUNDS
Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds (Hosea 6:1, NIV).
God restores your RELATIONSHIP
Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored! (Lamentations 5:21, NIV).