Loving God. Loving our neighbor.

Restitution – In God’s Gracious Work With You

Joni Eareckson Tada

“What the locust swarm has left the great locusts have eaten; what the great locusts have left the young locusts have eaten; what the young locusts have left other locusts have eaten. Be glad, O people of Zion, rejoice in the Lord your God. ‘I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.'”

Joel 1:4; 2:23, 25

I recently took inventory of my spiritual growth, beginning with that November afternoon in 1964 when I confessed Christ, all the way to the present. As I marked off the milestones, I came across chunks of years that were spiritual wastelands.

In my early teens I memorized the words of entire Beatles albums, but memorizing Scripture was a bore. I turned down a summer missions trip because I didn’t want to be away from my boyfriend. I don’t need to divulge the sordid details of how we ended up spending our time. Then came my accident in 1967. More years of spiritual dryness as I sneered at nurses and generally took my anger out on my family, who faithfully visited the hospital.

But even after my accident and long after I got my spiritual act together, there were more wasted years. Hidden sins that I covered up for months. A habit of prayer that I let die for almost a year. Bible reading that I ignored for ages, it seemed. Worthless years. Futile. Wasted.

At the close of my spiritual inventory, I grieved to think I would never recover, never redeem what had been lost in my life. But my grief lasted only a moment. God brought to mind the promise of Joel 2:25! The Lord promises that my losses shall be repaired. He will make good on the damage I’ve done. And like the father who more than made up for all that his prodigal son had squandered, God vows that He will restore our loss. That’s what restitution is all about.

Restore my wasted years, O Lord!


Taken from Diamonds in the Dust