And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the canker-worm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm, my great army which I sent among you. Joel 2:25

God is the business of restoring lives. The enemy is he who has come to kill and destroy. Many today have lost jobs, family members, health, and a myriad of other things. Sometimes it probably seems like God has abandoned us, but this is most assuredly not true. I believe that there are seasons that we all go through in this life. There are times in our lives when it seems like everything is going fine. We are financially secure, we are successful, and our family members are healthy and thriving. There are other times when the sky above us is dark and foreboding, and it seems like the trials of life are never-ending. Everything that could go wrong seems to go wrong. The car breaks down, the bills can't be paid, and our relationships seem to be caustic and without love.

All of us go through periods of time like this. But perhaps some of us have hit a place in the road where these trials and events seem to go on without an end in sight. The verse above speaks to those who have been or are presently in that situation now. Those who are farmers know of the devastation that a swarm of locusts can do with a field of corn, milo, or wheat. During the 1930's many, especially in the mid-west, experienced this every day for months and even a few years. The top soil had been taken away due to the immense swarm of insects that preyed upon the crops. Rain was scarce, and families found what little peace they could find in cloths and blankets that were set in the windows to keep the dust and insects from coming inside their homes. These had experienced the physical reality of what these types of insects can do with their livelihood.

But the cankerworm and the locust preys upon us today in many ways even more insidious than the blight of the dust bowl in the dirty 1930's. Those who for years had a steady paycheck to provide for their family, find out that they cannot depend upon their job of 20 or 30 years now. They may have even found themselves in a place of desperation as their family has been split up. But in spite of the seeming utter hopelessness of some of these situations, God is there and he is in the process of restoring what had been taken away. What had been intended by the enemy as a way of causing utter loss and hopelessness, God will renew the land that had been stolen, and even now, is on the road to restoration. The patriarch Job had suffered the loss of children, livestock, homes, and even his own flesh. His wife even mocked him and had said that he might as well "curse God and die." But he chose to continue to believe and have faith, in spite of what was happening around him. And as we know everything was restored back to him doubly. He now had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys.

Many of us are living in a winter season where each day has seemed to chill our faith and to cause us to think that spring time will never come. But God is causing those winters to shorten, and a new season will arrive for us. It is right on the horizon, and with it, comes a destruction of the insects that have devastated our homes and lives earlier.

Stephen Hanson