“I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.
“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
“You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the Lord your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.” Joel 2:25-27 ESV
In the wandering years of my prodigal sons, God led me to hold onto these verses from the book of Joel. He lifted my eyes to look for the promises that He was speaking, and He asked me to hold tightly to Him when nothing I saw looked like restoration. Some days the grieving threatened to swallow me when I lowered my eyes and looked at the present.
As I sat over my sewing machine, I wove my tears and my prayers along with those burdens. Joining fabrics as the machine whirred along, tearing stitches as the seam-ripper found out mistakes, and re-placing those errant pattern pieces only served to remind me of the process of our lives here on this earth.
How could You ask me to love more, to pray more? I have nothing left to give, I’ve given all I could, Lord.
Ah, but He wasn’t asking for my striving. No, He was asking for my hand in His. He was asking for my trust in His promises. He is the only One who could redeem those years that seemed to have been wasted. For in His heart, nothing is wasted. Everything that we have offered to Him, everything burned up on the altar, is making way for His great plan of redemption.
Those years of interceding at my sewing machine were accomplishing something far greater than just a hand-crafted item. He was joining my suffering with the suffering of those for whom I was interceding. Weaving our lives together through the stitches of prayer, an unbreakable bond was being formed. But I could not see it at the time.
It wasn’t until decades later as I found myself sorting and de-cluttering all of those scraps of fabric, left over from each project, that the years suddenly fell into a much larger pattern. Boxes and boxes of fabric, neatly folded and waiting for my next project had lain dormant through my increasing disability of chronic illness. I found myself asking the Lord the same kinds of questions from the vantage point of looking back over the years.
How could You ask me to love more, to pray more, when my hands were stilled from doing anything? I gave all that I could, but I never finished all the projects that I thought You had for me.
Ah, but He had never asked for my striving. He had only asked for my hand in His, joining in HIS heart of loving. What became of those “wasted” years of my sons’ wandering? He remade them, and used them for His new gifts. He took what the enemy had meant for harm, and is using it for good.
And what became of all of those “wasted” years of my fabrics lying in the closet? He remade my prayers into gifts that are eternal. He has been using these later years for new gifts of Holy Spirit intercessions.
And then He said, “Pass it along! Let the next generation of sewers be blessed as you pray one last time over the fabrics from your closet. A prayer closet stitched with love.”
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
Oh Dear Heart are you grieving
The years of the locust and the cutter worm?
While the storms ravaged the crops
Did you sit in the ruins?
Was there even a remnant of TRUST
Listen to the words He is speaking
Here in this place of the AFTER.
While the rains water the ground
Hear the tune of the mist.
Can you see the silver in the clouds
Our Sovereign will not waste one drop
From the deluge of the flood.
While He waits for the full harvest
He sees the seed remaining.
Will you trust His redemption
He will restore and He will redeem
From all the waste places.
You will find His Glory there
In the places of His testing.
Can you taste the sweetness
The shame and the pain He does lift
From the barren heart places.
As you look back over the years
See the way He has made.
Can you live in the Faithfulness
“For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth.” Job 19:25
“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!” Psalm 27:13
Dear Holy Father,
Thank You for the love that You have showered over us, and over the ones we love. Thank You that Redemption has always been Your plan. Even when we have covered ourselves in the dust of our running, You have made the way for us to return and to rest in Your cleansing. Lord, help us to hold onto the promises You have spoken to us.
When we have no strength left to believe, would You help our unbelief? And when we return to striving, would You cleanse our hearts once again and show us Your own outstretched hand before us? Would You open a glimpse into Glory’s reign and show us the salvation of many that You intend to bring?
We praise You for Your marvelous grace, even here where all we feel are the wastelands of our pain. Thank You that You have called us back into Your faithful heart, into the fullness of Your redemption.
In the name of Your son Jesus we pray,