by Charles Moncrief
And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten.
Joel 2:25 (KJV)
The farmer in the Ancient Near East understood what was at stake every year at planting time. Whenever the harvest was lost to disease, weather, or pests, for the farmer the year was lost. And it was lost forever. There was no going back for a do-over. There was no making up for those losses in the next year. There was grieving for a loss that can never be regained, never recovered, never restored.
We know something of that mindset. In sports the quarterback wishes he hadn’t thrown the interception that killed the game-winning drive in the final minute. The coach tells the team some variation of “Put that loss behind you, we have to get ready for next week’s game”, but the players still have their period of grief.
In a marketing campaign the advertising executive wishes she’d given her mock-up to a colorblind man to review the packaging, rather than lose millions of dollars on a message that a sizable portion of the demographics can’t see.
At one time or another we’ve all wished we could take back or do over something that we really botched: that job interview, that gaff in the public speech, that letter to the editor. Actually, in less than a minute I’m able to think of several do-overs I’d like to have!
It’s fun -- unless you’re the quarterback or the ad executive -- to reminisce about those lost moments. But it quickly gets serious and ugly when the words and actions inflict harm. The losses become monumental when in the heat of the moment a spouse degrades a partner to whom was made a pledge of “for better for worse”. [In our marriage rite it’s not “for better or for worse” and not even “for better, for worse”; it’s ironclad.] How big is the loss? The well-known lament “I gave you the best years of my life” should provide a clue about the magnitude. The years lost to the devouring locust may suddenly echo in our hearts. It’s not only lost things; it’s lost years. And the only effective way of dealing with it is to move forward.
Putting the past behind us is never easy.
Recovering what we’ve lost in the past is even harder; and the more we try, the more it robs us of present joy. The more we obsess with vengeance, even in its mildest forms of guarding against future hurts, the more it robs us of our effectiveness at moving forward with our lives.
Returning to the agricultural imagery of the Ancient Near East, the farmer knows that lost years can never be restored. “Restore the years”? That’s impossible!
Here’s where I see amazing power in the prophecy of Joel, for the ancient farmer and for us today.
GOD SPECIALIZES IN THE IMPOSSIBLE.
Lost years are restored. Lost lives are rebuilt. Lost souls are regained.
With man, it is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Matthew 19:26 (KJV)
Grace and Peace,
Anglican Priest, Charles Moncrief, serves up the issues of the day on a platter mixed with scripture, seriousness, and a sense of humor to create a ministry founded in love for his fellow man.
“I’m an Anglican Priest, disguised as a geek during the week. It’s REALLY tough to change my costume, since phone booths are getting hard to find!”