I have heard the promise in the first part of Joel 2:25 many times in regard to my divorce:
"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten...."
I like that promise, but I don't believe in just pulling a statement out of the Bible and claiming it without understanding the context. Since the Bible wasn't written in verses and chapters, the "context" doesn't just mean reading the verse before and the verse after. It means digging to find out what the backstory is. So I have done some digging, and discovered some interesting things about this promise.
First, the locusts were sent as discipline...by God Himself! So He wasn't just promising to fix the effects of a natural disaster. He was promising to restore His loved ones, once the discipline had its desired effect.
Second, in verses 12-14, God urges the people to repent so that He might "relent from sending calamity." He reminds them that "he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love." God gave them yet another chance, but apparently they ignored His plea.
Third, after the promise regarding the locusts, God tells His people in great detail how He will bless them and how they will know Him.
So, in context, how does this verse apply to me as one who has been through an unwanted divorce?
Well, first, I have to ponder the possibility that God used my divorce to discipline me, to redirect me and call me into a right relationship with Him.
Second, I have to make sure that I have truly repented of the sins that contributed to my divorce.
And finally, I need to acknowledge the many blessings God has bestowed on me as he repays me for the years that were destroyed by my divorce.
One of those blessings, I think, has been a new ability to wait on God.
Waiting has never been my strong point. It still isn't. I still feel frustrated and impatient when things don't happen right now. However, thanks to God's discipline of allowing me to be divorced, I have learned to wait on His timing, to trust that He knows what He is doing and that His timing is better than mine. I have learned not to be a Sarah or a Rebekah who takes things into her own hands, but to wait on God.
I am in a waiting phase of my life now. It's not my favorite place to be, but you know what? I'm okay with it. And I am calm.
God is repaying!