The money can be recovered. Property can be restored: broken cars, peeling paint, old houses. Relationships can be restored. But one thing that can never be recovered is time. Time passes and does not return. Years go by and we will never get it back.
But God promises the impossible: "I will give you back the years that the locusts devoured" (Joel 2:25). The immediate meaning of this promise is clear. God's people had suffered the total destruction of all their crops at the hands of swarms of locusts, which marched across the fields like an army of insects, destroying the crops and multiplying their numbers as they went.
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For four consecutive years, the crop was completely destroyed. God's people have been brought to their knees in more ways than one. But "the Lord was jealous of his land and had compassion on his people." God said, “Behold, I will send you grain, wine, and oil, and you will be satisfied” (Joel 2:18-19).
In years to come, God said, their fields would produce in abundance to make up for the loss: “The threshing floor will be full of corn; the barrels will overflow with wine and oil. . . . You will eat well and be satisfied” (Joel 2:24, 26).
This wonderful promise to this town meant that years of bountiful harvests would follow years of locust devastation.
But God has also written this promise in the Bible for us today.
Lost years of our lives
What do we think of the “lost years”? Lost years (or locust years) are years that cannot be made up and come in many varieties.
Lost years are fruitless years.A lot of hard work was done in the years that the locusts ate. After everything was destroyed, people must have thoughtAll this work and what do I have to show for it?Some of you know that pain in the business world: a failed company, a bad investment, a wrong policy, and all the efforts you put in day after day, month after month, year after year only to great disappointment. you think,What happened to all my time and all my effort?
Lost years are painful years.I think of those who have lost a loved one. You had plans for the future, but now you fear that the years ahead may be empty. I am also thinking of those who live with physical or mental illness. You assumed you could always do what you used to do. You have to find a way to live with the disappointment that you can't.
Lost years are selfish years.Here is a story that has been repeated thousands of times. There is one person (let's call him Jim) who has made a commitment to Christ, but it didn't go that deep. Faith in Jesus was one piece of the big pie of his busy life, filled with all the things Jim wanted to pursue. Then one day, God takes Jim. He is spiritually awake. he tells himselfWhat the hell have I done? There is no substance in my life. I really want it to count for Christ. I want to live in the power of the spirit. I want to make a difference in the world, but locusts ate half my life! I wasted my years on myself.
Lost years are years without love.A family is divided and distances its loved ones. Children grow up and those years cannot be restored. A marriage in which love has been burning at low levels for many years is kept quiet. You see a couple who are really in love and you say, "I wish I could be loved like that." Or you haven't met the person you want to meet. She feels like the years are passing. You can never get it back. The locusts ate them.
Lost years are rebellious years.Maybe you grew up with many blessings, but in your heart you wanted to rebel. You did not fully understand this urge, but you gave in to it. Instead of bringing you joy, the rebellion brought you pain. Now you remember those years with regret, the years that the locusts ate.
Lost years are wrong years.The path you took in your career or in your studies was a dead end. You just didn't fit in. Often in your thoughts and sometimes in conversations you say, "How did I end up here? If only... If only I had taken that step... If only I had taken this opportunity... If only I had chosen a different path.” But the moment is gone. Gone. You can't call on it. You have lobster years.
Lost years are years without Christ.All years without Christ are locust years. This is a point worth considering if you are not yet committed to Christ. Ask anyone who came to faith in Christ later in life and he will tell you that he wishes he had come to Christ earlier than he did: “How much nonsense he would have avoided. How much more good could have been done in my life.”
How God restores lost years
Take heart! There is hope because God can restore your lost locust years. He does it in three ways.
God can restore lost years by deepening your fellowship with Christ."You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God" (Joel 2:27). These people who have endured so much enjoy a communion with the Lord far greater than anything they have known in their religious life. Christ can restore lost years by deepening his fellowship with him.
Why not ask him? Tell him: “Lord, I have spent too many years without you, too many years away from you. Fill my heart with love and gratitude for Christ. May the loss of those years make my love for Christ greater than it ever would have been. Give me back the years the locusts ate. "
God can restore lost years by multiplying your fertility.The crops of this people had failed for four years, but God restored the years that the locusts had eaten giving abundant harvests.
This provision reminds me of the parable in which Jesus spoke of a harvest that could be 30, 60, or 100 times greater. There is a big difference between these three crops. Three years multiplied by 100 is as much fruit as a decade multiplied by 30.
Why not ask him? “Sir, the locusts have eaten too many years of our lives. You have called us as your disciples to bear lasting fruit. Too many fruitless years have passed. Now, Lord, we ask you, give us some years now in which they will bear more lasting fruit than in all our years of small harvests ".
God can restore lost years by bringing long-term gains from short-term losses.These great tests in your life will make “the proven authenticity of your faith. . . Praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7). All praise, glory and honor belong to Christ because his power has protected and sustained you through the most difficult years of your life.
When I think of "the years that the locusts devoured," years that have passed, I think of something Isaiah said about our Lord Jesus: "He was cut off from the land of the living" (Isaiah 53:8).
Here the Lord Jesus was in the prime of His life. He had been in his ministry for three years at the age of 33. You'd think a man starting a new business at 33 would have everything ahead of him. But Isaiah says, "He was cut off." He was cut off because he came under the judgment of God, not for his own sins, for he had none, but for ours.
Our sins, our pains, our pains were placed on him. Our verdict fell on him. Our locusts pounced on him. The life of the tender offspring of God was "cut off." Then, on the third day, the Son of God was raised in the power of eternal life. He offers himself to you and says what no one else can say: "I will restore the years that the locusts ate."