Gina Caswell Kelly
These last few weeks and months even, I guess, have been filled with such a different way of life for all of us. Waiting on the next word to tell us whether or not we can go shop or go to church or go to work. Waiting to see if anyone around us will fall ill from the virus. It has definitely been a very strange time for everyone. So much confusion and so much information and misinformation and in the middle of it all, we get reminders that life does still go on. These last weeks and, certainly for me, the last days have been days that I have needed to know for sure that my God has me in the palm of His great and wonderful hand.
Through all of this, the book of Joel keeps coming to mind. Joel is a pretty interesting book. It is a scary book and a story of just a horrible time in the history of the Jewish people. It starts off in chapter one and he says, “Has anything like this happened in your days? Or in your father’s days? Tell your sons about it and let your sons tell their sons and their sons the next generation.”
He goes on to talk about the gnawing locusts and how the vines and the fig trees are nothing more than splinters now. The land mourns, the book says. Everything is destroyed. It talks about fires and droughts and just a terrible time in which to live. What is happening is the people are reaping what they have sown. They are seeing the consequences of what happens when they turn from following God. That is the first chapter
In the second chapter God says, “Return to me with all your heart.” He says something else really interesting. Back then, rending or tearing your garment was a sign of grief and repentance. But what God says in Chapter 2, verse 13 is this. “Rend your heart, not your garment and return to the Lord your God.” Oh wow! Does that kick you in the pants, or what? He does not want lip service from us. He wants commitment. He wants to see our lives turned back to Him.
He goes on in that chapter and talks about how God will, indeed heal their land. He tells them to be glad in the Lord “He has given you the early rain for your healing. The threshing floors will be full of grain. The vats will overflow with new wine and oil.” And He says “I will display wonders in the sky and on earth.” And the very best part is in verse 32. He says, “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered!” Oh my goodness! I love this verse. In my Bible I have written several different dates and prayers beside it asking God to deliver me or to deliver my children. How precious is this Word from God! I look at those dates and they symbolize deliverance for me. How do I know? I am standing here. That is how I know. He did deliver me, whether or not it was exactly as I had in mind, it was certainly for the best in his plan.
And I know that God will indeed deliver us from what we are going through right now. I am not going to speak to whether or not I think anything that is happening in our nation is God’s judgement. But I do know this, we, as Christians, as followers of the One True God better come out of this with hearts broken for our very broken world. He does not want lip service from us. He wants hearts that are broken for what breaks His heart. He wants a people who will quickly call on Him. He wants people who will know, as it says in Joel 2:27, “Thus you will know that I am in the midst of you. And that I am the Lord your God, and there is no other god and My people will not be put to shame.”
If your haven’t read Joel, it is only three chapters. You can almost read it during a commercial break! Read it. Let it break your heart. Then declare that the Lord, He is God. There is none like Him! It will make a difference!