I used to think that all those adult years before Kim and I were saved were simply “lost” years of wasted time. Today I know better. We have a great promise from our good God that every perceived loss in our past will one day be restored.
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust, My 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; and My people shall never be put to shame. (Joel 2:25-26 NKJV)
The locust can represent anything in our lives that stood in opposition to our God. Here is what “the prince of preachers,” Dr. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, had to say regarding the locust:
The locust of backsliding, worldliness, and luke-warmness are now viewed by us as a terrible plague. Oh, that they had never come near us! The Lord in mercy has now taken them away, and we are full of zeal to serve Him. Blessed be His name, we can raise such harvests of spiritual graces that they will make our former barrenness disappear. Through rich grace we can turn to account our bitter experience and use it to warn others. We can become the more rooted in humility, childlike dependence, and penitent spirituality by reason of our former shortcomings. If we are the more watchful, zealous, and tender, we will gain by our lamentable losses. The wasted years, by a miracle of love, can be restored.
As you look back over your life, are you troubled by seemingly wasted time? Do you see seasons of scarcity when there should have been abundance . . . perhaps because you neglected opportunities your God set before you? Well, you aren’t alone! The locusts have created losses for all of us. We have all given in to less than God’s best for our lives. But God has promised to restore the years the locusts have eaten; in God’s economy, there is no such thing as “wasted time.” God uses every single moment of our existence to ultimately move us in the direction of our eternal destiny.
In his previous life, the apostle Paul was the great persecutor of the early Christian church. To be sure, he must have seen that time of persecuting the church as worse than wasted years—he had engaged in the ultimate sin, because he was persecuting Jesus Himself by persecuting His church (Acts 9:4). Yet what did God do with those years the locust had eaten? He turned Paul’s misguided zeal for religion into a magnificent obsession for his Redeemer. Paul went from persecutor to preacher; and the rest, as they say, is history.
My prayer for you today is that you will rest in this great promise from our great God. Every loss will ultimately be for your gain. Every missed opportunity will be a stepping stone in the direction of something even greater. Remember, because God is for you, it doesn’t really matter what is against you, even the years the locusts have eaten. Your Redeemer will restore it all!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!