Words From The Heart: Special Weekly Reflection #50

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“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten … you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied.”
Joel 2:25,26 (NKJV)

In late 2020 and early 2021, East Africa suffered from swarms of locusts – the worst in decades. What made it worse was the it came in two waves. As one wave ended in December 2020, the offspring of those locusts were getting ready for their own invasion in January 2021.

Five countries have been especially hard hit by the African migratory locusts: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. As a result, more than 35 million people suffer from food insecurity. One NGO estimates this number could increase to 38.5 million if nothing is done to control the new infestation.

This came as a double whammy as the same part of Africa was dealing with an increase in cases of COVID-19. They must have wondered what in the world was going on.

It is likely that you haven’t had to deal with a locust invasion, but your life has certainly been impacted by the pandemic. Your life is not the same as it was a year ago.

In Joel 2, the prophet speaks to the people of Israel. He prophesies that there is going to be an invasion by a northern army that will cause great havoc for the people of Israel. But there is a way out. In the midst of all that they will face, God calls them to repentance. The people of Israel heed the call, and God gives them a great promise in Joel 2:25-27:

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.
Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:
I am the Lord your God and there is no other.”

We have now passed the first anniversary of the pandemic – the WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. Many have felt like this has been a wasted year, like our lives have been consumed. We have had to cancel trips, and missed family gatherings. We haven’t seen friends face to face, babies we haven’t met yet have been born to friends and family, loved ones have died and we couldn’t go to the funeral. It is easy to think that life has passed us by.

At the same time, for many this year has had blessings they we couldn’t have thought possible. Followers of Jesus have grown closer to Him. People have sought the Lord and put their faith in Him. Families have had more time together.

And God still gives this promise – “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten … you shall eat in plenty and be satisfied.” (Joel 2:25,26)

God is still in control – today and in the future.

I’m Bob Beasley, and these have been words from the heart.