And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed. (Joel 2:25-26)
When I started my full-time job a month ago, my heart sank because I knew that I would have to give up the thing I love doing most -- being a full-time mom. My daughter was sick one day recently so I had the opportunity to stay home from work and take care of her. Although I never want my children to be sick I must admit that I relished the chance to don a pair of jeans, have a lengthy quiet time, and just enjoy the day. But as usual my day didn't turn out the way I planned.
With a perfectly mapped out day ahead of me, I decided to turn on my computer to check email while the coffee was brewing. I should have had my quiet time first and just stayed out of my office altogether! But I knew that I had past due bills to pay and was determined to make paying them one of my priorities on my day off.
Because I had been having trouble connecting to the Internet for a few days I called my Internet Service Provider and spent about an hour on the phone running tests and diagnostics only to be told that I probably had spyware on my computer. After running a full virus scan then a malware check, the system detected and removed two malicious programs that were running in the background. Then my system CRASHED! I tried every way I knew how to restart my computer and finally as a last resort restored it to factory defaults, which meant that the programs I had installed plus all my data from the past three years, including pictures, manuscripts, and business and personal financial data were lost. LOST! Thankfully I had subscribed to an online backup service and run a complete backup of my machine just a month prior, copying some of the more recent critical files to a thumb drive. Because of my online backup, all was not lost in the end, though I suffered the inconvenience of having to spend countless hours restoring my computer to an operational state and downloading the files and software I had lost.
In some ways life is a lot like a malfunctioning computer. There is a malicious enemy at work who sneaks into our lives wreaking havoc and throwing everything into chaos, causing seemingly irreparable damage from which we think we may never recover. He introduces temptation and sin into the life of the believer with the stealth of the Trojan virus that lurked in the heart of my computer. The Bible tells us to "be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Peter 5:8).
Fortunately for us, Jesus is in the business of restoring broken lives and repairing the damage done by sin. Even those of us who are surrendered to the Lord are susceptible to the enemy's temptation to sin, but when we know and live according to God's Word, we are better able to recognize and prevent those temptations from taking root and wiping out completely the good work that God has begun in us.
Restoration is not a quick process. Just as it will take days for me to get my computer back in the shape it was before the crash and restore all the data that was lost, it will take time for God to "restore the years the locusts have eaten" because of our sin. But He does promise to restore that which is lost. That is why Jesus came in the first place -- "to seek and save what was lost" (Luke 19:10).
Copyright © 2012 by Dee Dee Wike. All rights reserved. www.deedeewike.com
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