Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Repayment In Context

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!


Debi Marrs said...

Ah, waiting. I am actually pretty good at it, because I happen to like it. But that is a negative thing, mind you. If I am always waiting, it takes away the necessity for action!!! You can put a lot of things off in the name of waiting! Hm, that isn't good is it?? My favorite one is to "wait for God to show me something I need to take action on." I wonder how often God says, "Get moving, and I will direct your steps."

alison said...

an interesting question...God did use divorce to discipline israel, but it seems out of His character to use it now...i tend to be in the camp that says, while nothing happens outside the sovereign will of God, some stuff happens simply b/c of living in a sin-filled, broken world.

Fatcat said...

So, what are you waiting for?

Denise Houser said...

Deb, I think that's why our friendship is so good...because we spur one another on in the areas where we are weak! :-)

Alison, I don't think that the divorce was God's idea, but I know that He works all things for good for those who are called according to His purposes. My divorce didn't take Him by surprise, and He already knew how He would make use of it to direct my path in the way He wants me to go. But that involved some discipline. In my case, some of the areas He had to discipline me in were my tendency to try to work everything out on my own instead of relying on Him, and my lack of patience. The separation and divorce were excellent training grounds for those two areas of my life!

Fatcat, (maintaining your anonymity here :-) ), I am waiting for many things right now...the financing for grad school, school to start, maybe someday a new relationship, a new career after I finish school, and other things. :-)