“Surly the Lord has done great things! Don’t be afraid, my people. Be glad now, and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things.” Joel 2:21
There are a lot of things going right in my life at the moment. I have a few questions, and a couple pretty big decisions that have to be made. And, of course there are things that could be easier. However, today I can easily agree that the Lord has done great things!
But there were times in my life when things haven’t gone well – in fact, a lot worse than now. Times when we lost a close family member, had to say good-bye to soon to an unborn babe, watched hopes die slowly before our eyes, spent months unemployed and then months under-employed. Days when we feared for the life of yet another unborn child… days of total and utter chaos, fear and even anger. And, in those days I saw as far as ahead as my fear would let me; what next impending disaster awaits us?
This call in Joel 2:21, to remember that the Lord has done great things, to be glad “now” and to rejoice, came on the heals of a prophecy of devastation and a call to repentance from the Lord’s people. It seems to be an instruction on how His people should respond to His promise of restoration, after He explained what would take place as a result of their evil. The Lord’s people sinned, stubbornly refused to acknowledge their sin, hurt each other and caused natural consequences to follow in the wake of their choices. The Lord called to them, begged them to return to Him and to stop the evil that ran rampant among them. They refused, and He had to respond. One final attempt to get their attention; a prophecy of impending disaster, another invitation to choose Him, and a reminder that He has already done great things.
Isn’t this how He still works today? In the midst of all that goes on – every stress, disaster, chaos, and evil deed done to us or by us, He calls to us, still speaking through prophecies, through the quiet whisper of the Holy Spirit, through events and people… every way possible. And He still says, “Surely I have done great things! Don’t be afraid. Be glad now.”
And, honestly, what better way to get my head out of the fear and the muck of life in the moments of dispare than to remember, and in remembering to be glad, to rejoice? To take my eyes off of my circumstances, off of myself, and set them on the One who has already accomplished great things on my behalf.
It seems that it is in the midst of the worst moments in life that it is the best time to hear, “Surely the Lord has done great things! Don’t be afraid. Be glad now and rejoice, for the Lord has done great things.” Not only for us to remember all He has already done, but for us to anticipate the things He has set in motion on our behalf which we have yet to see. It is only when we can take our eyes off the pain and trouble that we begin to see Him, to see His love.
The only reason things are going so well now in my life, is because of things He set in motion for us long before we were ever in our moments of utter chaos. I can see that now. But had I been glad then, for these things, before I’d seen them, I would have been living out of faith. (Heb. 11:1)
And isn’t that the very mark of those who love Him?