by Kim Ream
This is the year when the 17-year locusts have crawled out from underground and are everywhere. My plants, grasses, and trees are covered with them. There are dead locusts littering my driveway and half-dead ones try to escape our youngest dog who pounces on them and bats them around. They are loud and they are unavoidable. I’m not a fan of the year of the locusts. Not in the least. If you look at them when they are facing you, you see that they have beady red eyes. RED! They give me “the creeps”! They sound less menacing when we call them cicadas. And their “song” that I hear can even sound a bit sweet. But I can’t stop thinking of them as “locusts”, which does not have a neutral connotation in my mind.
Brood X has emerged by the billions, they say. Pastor Ryan once preached about the locusts. I remember it, a bit, because he pointed out the various types of locusts and devouring insects referenced in some translations of this passage. However, the word locust sticks with me for a different reason: well over a decade ago, someone prayed over me, “the Lord will restore to you what the locusts have eaten.” What?!?! I did not get it then, but I clung to this prophetic, prayerful promise when, a few years later, the years got dark and all I could do was sob in despair before the Lord, pleading with Him to change what was happening. I clung to this prophetic prayer. I did not think about the 17-year cycle of the literal locusts coming up out of the ground back then. Today, as I see those locusts everywhere, I am reminded of the Scripture from which this prayer came.
Joel 2:25, 32 [from the Contemporary English Version]
25 I, the Lord your God,
will make up for the losses
caused by those swarms
and swarms of locusts
I sent to attack you.
32 Then the Lord will save everyone who faithfully worships him. He has promised there will be survivors on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and among them will be his chosen ones.
The LORD restores and the LORD saves… He has promised there will be survivors. I’m not trying to remove the context of the entire passage as it fits into the body of Scripture, but I’m appreciative that God, who knows the larger picture of the divine plan, speaks to and over His people to tell us that He restores, He redeems for Himself survivors, and He has chosen ones that may have to face some devouring and swarming locusts in their lifetimes.
I don’t know if you have any aspect of your past or your present that feels like it has been completely devoured or eroded away, but God does. I don’t know if the earth under your feet feels softened and stirred up making it is hard to stand, but God does. I don’t know if your future holds some devouring season to come, but God does. I do know that God is a Restorer, a Redeemer, a Savior and He chooses to draw people to Him. God encourages us to hang on, cling to Him, worship Him, look to His Word and promises and not only survive, but THRIVE! When He restores what the locusts have eaten, we do have to choose to receive the offered restoration.
So, these swarming locusts that I see all around my home today are still creepy. But, they remind me of God Who is All-knowing and Good! He has the big picture in mind. I pray you not only survive, but you thrive in the redemptive power of the One Who is holding out His hand to you!