The "If Only..." Syndrome
If only I had done that....if only I had thought to say this...if only I had taken a different job...if only I had married a different person...
Who of us has not said an 'If only..' at some point in our lives?
But here is what the Lord says:
I will restore the years that the locust has eaten, the swarming locust, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, My great army which I sent among you. You will have plenty to eat and be satisfied and praise the Name of the Lord your God, Who has dealt wondrously with you. Then My people will never be put to shame. Joel 2: 25-26 NASB
Sounds good but how can the Lord do that? Once time is gone, it's gone. Years cannot be restored, can they?
While we cannot get those years back, God has a marvelous way of restoring the blessings we have missed and the fruit we failed to bear for Him!
Yes, it's a pity that the intended blessings for you were 'eaten up' by the 'locusts of selfishness and sin' but the word of the Lord to you today is 'Don't be discouraged for all things are possible to him that believes.' What is impossible to us is possible to God. There is a Power beyond the impossible - our Heavenly Father. Notice that He didn't say 'I might...', He said, 'I will...'
Isn't that just an awesome promise of the Lord?
By giving His repentant people abundance of grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit in the present, He restores to you seven-fold more than those years would have produced. How can I say that? Because the scripture says that 'when the thief is caught, he must restore seven-fold.' Proverbs 6:31
The Lord's promise is that He will give to you all the blessings and harvest and effectiveness and holiness you would have received during those locust years, far above and beyond what the swarming, creeping, stripping and gnawing locusts of selfishness, sin and the devil stole from you. Yes, it's a wonder but our God is a God of wonders.
Some of us mourn over those wasted years when we did nothing for God or His kingdom, nor for the good of our own soul. Well, here is the gift of God. He promises to not only give you those missed blessings, missed revelations in His Word, missed opportunities to share Him with others, but that He will restore not only those but multiply seven-fold everything that was stolen. Isn't that amazing?? Don't you just want to praise Him?
What are the locust years? Years without Christ, working hard with little to no results, plowing and sowing but reaping little, disappointments and discouragement. Years in which we buried the gift which God deposited in us, doing nothing with it, but instead seeking our own pleasure or purposes. It is a tragic waste of God's grace to live thirty, forty, fifty years or more content with just a 'Jesus and me' attitude and no 'Jesus and thee.' We are here, after all, to be a light in the darkness of this world, reflecting Jesus to everyone we know and meet.
But there is good news! "I will restore..." the Lord says.
If you and I come to Him, confess our wasted time, repent and ask for His forgiveness, He will restore. It is never too late!
May He be praised forever!!!