“The vine is dried up and the fig tree is withered; the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree- all the trees of the field- are dried up. Surely the joy of mankind is withered away.” – Joel 1:12
Rough times for God’s people. Joel talks about an army of locusts that ate everything, destroying the food and land. I’d say the people had some trouble coming up with any joy at that time. Wow, that sounds familiar. It appears that in Joel the destruction was a punishment and, on most days I don’t believe I am being punished, but I do relate to what feels like total destruction and a lack of joy.
“Declare a holy fast… and cry out to the Lord” (Joel 1:14). “‘Even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.’ Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (Joel 2:12-13).
When the great calamity came, the instructions were to ask God for help, fast and weep, tear their hearts and give them back to God. God hears their prayer because of his compassion, grace, and love. Currently there are people fasting for me, and I honestly don’t know how to handle that information. I’m not just talking about skipping a meal, but days of fasting and praying for me. This was not even my or my husband’s idea. It’s hard for me to believe that anyone should do such a thing for me. I am humbled, pretty speechless, weeping, and so grateful for the love, compassion, and grace of God poured out to me by His people.
“Then the Lord will be jealous for his land and take pity on his people” (Joel 2:18). “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten… and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you … Then you will know that I am in Israel, that I am the Lord your God, and that there is no other” (Joel 2:25, 26, 27).
I actually have verse 20 on my wall. I prefer the version that says, “I will restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten”, mostly because restore is the word God gave me at the beginning of this year to keep my hope alive. He has shown me how many times He is willing to restore my heart, but I also love to imagine God saying that He will restore to me the years that the Lyme has eaten. I praise the name of the Lord for He is working wonders for me. Maybe He is allowing me to continue suffering so that His name will be better known and His glory revealed.
“The Lord will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the sky will tremble. But the Lord will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel” (Joel 3:16).
I know that God hears our prayers, sees our weeping, and loves the incredible sacrifice that His beautiful people are willing to give for me. I pray that physical restoration does come but until then, while the roaring fills my ears and trembling fills my body, the Lord will be my refuge and stronghold. He holds me fast while the chaos swirls and I look forward to the joy of the years He will restore. To Him be the glory while we wait and receive His healing.
Today has been somewhat of a roller coaster. Lately I’ve been sleeping so hard for awhile that I wake up thinking it’s morning and it’s only been a couple hours. Last night it was only 12:51 when I woke up, and I was awake for at least two hours. And when I woke up again it was to tell Jason goodbye while he went to work for 13-14 hours. Darn open house. So I got grumpy for awhile. I don’t know, maybe to try and make myself feel tougher and not so much like a baby needing her security blanket. But I’m doing ok on and off, not loving my symptoms but knowing God holds me strong. I’ve been keeping somewhat busy with reading and writing and a tiny bit of nature that I share with you now. And I cling to the knowledge of how much people care and that God is hearing our prayers. If you read this, I can’t thank you enough for loving me in this way.
Song I’m feeling: Where Joy and Sorrow Meet, by Avalon
“There’s a place of thirst and hunger where the roots of faith grow deep
And there is rain and rolling thunder when the road is rough and steep
There is hope in desperation there is victory in defeat
At the cross of restoration where joy and sorrow meet.”