Tuesday, April 13, 2010
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust has eaten.” Joel 2:25
Did you know that the Bible is alive?
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).
The word of God is active and alive. That means that the God can speak to us here in 2010 through the words of the Bible that were written thousands of years ago.
Just between you and me.....sometimes I go through long bouts without reading my Bible. It's true. Please take a moment to process the fact that I'm not perfect. I know....it's shocking....and if you think that's bad....I won't tell you the long laundry list of other un-perfect things I do, say, think, want....lol. Please, try to collect yourself and read on. What I have found is that....no surprise here....when I don't read the Bible and get some much needed spiritual food, my life isn't very awesome. And I LOVE it when my life is awesome. Sometimes I don't read the Bible because I don't want to hear what God has to say to me. I conveniently "forget" to read....for weeks. It's kinda like avoiding your parents when you know that you have done something wrong or if you know they want you to do a chore that you don't want to do. You know they're right, you know that they discipline you or give you tasks because they love you, but...you just don't want to hear it or do it. Well, I get like that with God sometimes. But don't you worry, God doesn't let me off the hook. I can pout around and ignore Him for only a short time and then I find myself running to my Bible because I don't care if it's hard to hear or not...I need to hear from my Father. God and I have had many a Father/Daughter heart-to-heart over the years....countless ones, in fact. I remember how awed and excited I was when I realized that God truly does use the Bible to speak to me....Katie McNemar...personally...about my own Katie issues and my own Katie joys...just us. It was overwhelming to me. I called my brother Kirk, and was so excited. Deep down I knew that I was telling him something that he already knew, but I just couldn't help talking a mile-a-minute and telling him about God is clearly speaking directly to me about my current situation through the Bible. WHOA! (Anyone that has gone to a good church has experienced...probably many times...a church service where you feel like, or know, that God is speaking directly to you about your current situation. God is amazing!)
One night, about 6 months ago, I was reading my Bible before I went to bed. Sometimes I have a specific book of the Bible I am reading, but most of the time I pray and ask God to speak to me through His word and then just open the Bible to wherever it opens and start reading. Most of the time...what I read totally relates to my life....and then sometimes...I open the Bible to Numbers and I'm like, Huh!? : ) On this particular night I opened to Joel 2 and started reading about all this locust stuff. Number one....locusts are gross and I will run like I am being murdered if one gets anywhere near me. Number two....there is no number two...I just like numbering things sometimes. Anyway, I opened the Bible to Joel 2:25 and started reading. That first night, I didn't really get it. What do locusts have to do with me? As far as I know, nothing of mine has been destroyed by locusts. I mean, I melt into butter when I see their disgusting exoskeleton bodies....but I wouldn't go as far as to say that they destroyed me. Leave it to literal Katie to miss the message. So...the next night...I do the same thing. I pray that God speak to me through His word and I close my eyes and let the Bible fall open. And guess what....YEP! Joel 2:25 again. So I read it again. This time I am paying more attention. Maybe God is trying to tell me something here and I am just not getting it. And then it comes to me....the locusts....I get it now. The locusts represent anything destructive in our lives. It could be alcoholism, abuse, addiction, loss, death....anything that has robbed us and taken days, months, and years from our lives. The devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy.....our hopes, our dreams, our lives, our friends, our families, our relationship with God.....us....all of us (John 10:10). Once I understood what God was trying to say to me, I realized how it applied to my current situation. God was trying to tell me....Katie, all of the things that have happened in your life and your families lives that have stolen years from you....I will restore them all. How awesome! What a relief! The next night, I am excited to hear what else God has in store for me, so I pray, let the Bible fall open, look down and see....Joel 2:25....again! I didn't understand. Actually, I thought of closing the Bible and trying again, but I didn't. I looked at the pages to see if maybe they were opening to that page over and over again because of a dog-eared page or something....but I couldn't find anything. So I read Joel 2:25 again. This time as I was reading it I felt like God was trying to have a heart-to-heart with me. I've had a similar experience with my dad. He'll tell me something important, and I'll tell him I understand, but he wants to make sure I am really listening, because it's really important. The vision I got in my head while I was praying about the verse...again...for the third night in a row....was God asking me to climb up into His lap, like I am a little girl. As I am sitting on His lap He says to me, "Katie, I just want to make sure that you understand what I am telling you. I don't want you to hear this word, get excited about it for a second, and then forget about it. I want you to tattoo these words unto your heart. I want you to know them and believe in them so deeply that you have no doubt that I will fulfill my promise to you." Then I start crying..in real life. Those moments where God shows up and pours His love out on me are so precious that I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. When I started my relationship with God, I not only got a friend, I got a Father. God wants to teach me, discipline me, heal me, and protect me. He knew all about my past hurts, and as any good Father would do....He healed me, and now wants to protect me from getting hurt again. My life had seemed like one fantastically crappy situation after another, and I was struggling to keep my head up. I didn't believe. I didn't get it. I didn't have this tattooed on my heart. I never really understood or believed that God would give me back all of the years that were stolen from me. How was He going to do that? There are some things that He can't replace. At least not in this lifetime. But, God's promise isn't just for a day or so....it's for eternity. But God has come through for me. He is giving me back all that was stolen from me. I am new! My life is new! Nothing is impossible! I try not to worry about what will happen in the future. God has it all under control. Nothing can steal my joy if I don't let it. Our God is not a God of disorder, but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33). God will re-order your life and restore you...in His perfect timing. Being a Christian doesn't stop you from experiencing unimaginable loss and pain....but it does give you something that the world can't....hope, grace, faith, and comfort. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalms 34:18). When you are going through times of trial and hardship...these are the times that you feel God the most. If you are going through a hard time now, or if there are chunks of your life missing because of destruction....know that God WILL restore them to you. Jesus didn't die for us, so that our lives could be riddled with addiction, fear, shame, guilt, pain, and sickness. He died so that we can have life, and have it to the fullest. BELIEVE that. It's not a trick. If you've never read the Bible, or if you just read the Bible five seconds ago....why don't you take a few minutes and pray for God to speak to you and tell you about His promise to restore your life....and let the pages fall where they will. I believe that God is reaching out to you right now just like He did to me. It doesn't matter if you were the one that stole from yourself...it doesn't matter. Come to Him. Let Him make you new.