“So 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 word “restoration” has been running through my mind. This word is so meaningful in the time we are living in. We wonder if things will ever go back to what was normal. While we long for things to return to the way they were, that is not the most important aspect of restoration.
The most important aspect of restoration is spiritual. God promised in Joel 2:25 that he would “restore the years that locusts have eaten.” Locusts represent something that “devours,” whether that be something of substance or that represents something in our lives: personal belongings, financial situations, or relationships with others and with God.
When there is a spiritual restoration, every aspect of our lives is affected. David prayed in Psalm 51:12
“Restore unto me the joy of your salvation,” then he said he would go on to teach “transgressors your ways.” When we experience restoration, we put ourselves in a position to receive God’s blessings.
I know someone who wandered from God and the things he had been taught as a youth. He basically destroyed his life, his business, and his family. There were weeks when his family had no knowledge of where he was as he was high on drugs. But God… Many, many prayers were sent to heaven for him, and God answered.
Sometimes restoration takes time. It doesn’t always happen overnight. God takes a person from condemnation to conviction. This can take a period of time, with many ups and downs and what might seem like reversals, but God is always at work and never gives up on someone.
GOD REJOICES OVER RESTORATION
I experienced a restoration of sorts recently. I had lost my wristwatch, which meant a lot to me as it was a gift from my husband before he passed away. I really didn’t have a lot of faith that I would get the watch back. The band had broken and had fallen off my arm while I was on a shopping trip. Just on the chance that someone would be honest and turn it in, I went back to the most likely place I could have lost it, and low and behold; someone had turned it in.
As I thought about the joy I felt when I received my watch back, I thought of the joy God must feel when someone who has wandered away has returned. I think we see a picture of that in the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:20-31. There was a celebration when the wandering son returned. The father didn’t berate the son for squandering his inheritance or about the time he had been gone without contacting his family. He welcomed his son back as his son and threw a big party in celebration.
Jesus told a parable about lost sheep in Luke 15 and said, “there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over the ninety-nine who do not need to repent.”
Thank God that He is a God of restoration and doesn’t hold things over the head of people once they have been restored. He accepts them into his kingdom as full-fledged sons and daughters and restores them to joy.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. Psalm 51:12–13 (NIV)