"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten- the great locust and the young locust- the other locusts and the locust swarm- my great army that I sent among you." (Joel 2:28)
They just kept coming. The skies were dark with their invasion. Locusts were as bad as any army. They came through the doors and windows. They were in the bed at night and in the grain for the morning meal. The land was devastated and the economy had collapsed.
The people of Judah had experienced four waves of locusts. Worse was the knowledge that God had sent them. "The Lord thunders at the head of his army, his forces are numberless... who can endure it?" (2:11)
Joel, the clearsighted prophet of God, came to the mourning nation with a message of hope: "Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your god for He is gracious... abounding in love." Joel even promised that God would "restore the years that the locusts have eaten."
Many of us in the postmodern world understand locusts. Our lives are a desert and we know why. Our past is littered with the judgment of God. Now we wonder if return is possible, if it is too late to love Him. And so, Joel's promise is to us as well: "I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten."
That is promise enough to return.