By: Donna Rudolph
A friend of mine always used to meet at least one time a week to have prayer with me. I’ve known her for at least 30+ years and we both have wayward sons. We would pray for them and discuss things that were going on in our lives. One time when we were about to pray, my friend told me, “I’ve lost my joy.” I really didn’t know what she was talking about, so she went on to explain. She told me that her son had taken everything out of her, she was at her wits end as to how to help him. “Satan has stolen my joy.” She told me, “I just feel miserable! “She went on, “my son has made me so miserable and anxious that it makes it hard to pray or to read the Bible, I feel like I have wasted so much time on worry and anxiousness.” At that point I didn’t know what to say. We agreed to pray about it and meet again. I could tell she didn’t know where to turn.
When I got home, I started looking up “restoring joy” in the Bible. I needed to see what God had to say about this. I came upon some verses in Psalm 51:10-12, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me”. Ok, now I was on to something! These verses are from King David after his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. We can pray and ask God to restore our joy! That’s great news! The key is, repent and ask for cleansing and forgiveness from sin and then bring our petitions to God. I know a lot of people pray one time and expect God to immediately answer our prayer. Sometimes that is the way it goes, and sometimes not. When King David prayed, he asked for forgiveness for his transgressions (sins), he agreed with God and came before God with a broken and contrite spirit. What is that? It is coming before God and being willing to do anything and everything that God asks of you, overwhelmed with a sorrowful heart, remorseful, regretful. This is the sacrifice God requires to restore the joy of our Salvation. Ok, so now that we have the answer to that question.
I remember my dad speaking on restoration-that we can ask God to restore our time that is gone. Yes, He will do that too, according to His word. Joel 2:25 says, “I will restore the years that the locust has eaten.” In context, this talks about the children of Israel going four years without a harvest. Things were so bad, they fell to their knees to ask God to restore their harvest. But, not just the harvest, restore us enough to be satisfied. In Joel 2:18-19, it states, “the Lord became jealous for his land and had pity on his people, behold I am sending you grain, wine and oil, and you will be satisfied.” So, asking God to restore our joy is the first step. The second step is to pray for restoration of our time, whether we lost it through sin, selfishness, rebellion, lost relationships, or just misguided direction for our lives. What about the years before I accepted Christ? Those years are wasted too considering eternity. God put these promises in His word for us. (Guess what, we do come with instructions!) The years the locusts have eaten refers to our lost years or our wasted time. I could go one step further and say God will restore the painful years of losing a loved one. Your plans are destroyed-you are now looking at empty years to come. Maybe you have an illness. It’s so very hard to not be able to do what we used to do and accept the fact and disappointment that you can no longer do the things you want to do. How is that possible to be restored in these circumstances? Through new opportunities, healing, or by filling that void in your life. There is a reason you are still here on this Earth. God has a plan for you, just ask Him and see! He will lead and guide you on the correct path if you ask.
You are here for someone else! You go through trials and hard times to teach you to be there for someone else. You may be the only Jesus other people see. That is why you are still here, who knows but the only one to reach a particular person is you.
“You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the Lord your God.” (Joel 2:27) When Christ is by your side, you can be confident that God will restore the years by deepening your walk with Christ. Pour out your heart to Him. Let the loss of those years make your love for Christ greater than it ever would have been! God will multiply your fruitfulness. When you ask God to give you years of lasting fruit, this makes up for the years of small harvests, or no harvest. He always gives you more than what you ask for if you ask for the right reason. You will have bigger, better years that will count for Christ. God has a way of restoring your life and years wasted. Pray God’s word back to Him, remind Him of His promises. Keep asking until you receive. Come to the throne of God again and again.
Here are just a few promises God has made to His children:
Psalm 23:3, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”
Psalm 51:12, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”
Joel 2:26, And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.
Galatians 6:1-3, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.”
Jeremiah 20:17, “For I will restore health unto thee and I will heal thee of thy wounds, said the Lord; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, this is Zion, whom no man seeketh after”
Song of Solomon 2:11-12, “For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land”
Never give up! Don’t settle for less than God’s best for you. He has a plan, you may not see it, but it’s there. One day we will know and be grateful that God gives us what we need, not what we want. When you get on your heart what God has on His heart, then and only then will you be in His will and satisfied.