Insert your favorite platitude here....
........... make all things work together for good....
............ restore the years the locusts have eaten...........
There's quite a few of them, actually, and I think I have heard every one.
It is what Christians throw at each other when they can't fix the situation. Like slapping a bandaid on a wound. It doesn't fix anything, isn't even always the best choice, but it makes the platitude say-er feel better.
My most recent one to have thrown at me often is the locusts one.
"Don't worry that your kids have been raised in this atmosphere their whole lives, God can restore all the years the locusts have eaten."
Sadly, my kid's lives aren't grain. And a bountiful grain harvest one year won't make up for what they've been through. It won't heal the wounds on their hearts. It won't create a different foundation on what they think is normal behavior as they go out to face the world.
Things this week have been normal. Normal to me is pain. Normal to me is odd. Because it is the day to day going on ignoring the wounds that are unhealed and the deep scars. Normal is just pretending they aren't there. So normal hurts. It hurts because I hurt. And the pain has never been addressed, only added to.
People say, "Have faith. God can fix it. He can restore the years the locusts have eaten."
I think that should be added to the list of verses most misused as a platitude. God can not give back those years. He can not go back and raise my children in an environment without anger. He can not erase all the curses thrown at me. Sin has consequences. It does. It does, whatever people might say with their nice platitudes. It has consequences, and I live in them. My children are raised in them.
Joel 2:25 is the locust verse. "Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust, my great army which I sent among you."
I read it in about 15 translations. Most of them, unless they were influenced by old English, say what my Bible says. A version of "make up to you" or "repay you". Not restore. Not give back.
Time goes on. You don't get a replay on life. Joel speaks of the day of the Lord. The final day when God comes and judges the world and the heavens melt. After that comes the blessing and a time of perfection and blessing. The verse says that on that day, God will make up for those years. The good He gives will be so great in comparision to what we have come through.
I believe that.
Believing that does not take away one bit from the truth that living in this is damaging to my heart in ways that may never heal. I want - we women need - Christians to understand this. We don't need helpful platitudes of verses taken out of context. We need the love of hearts broken over the pain we live in, the strength of those willing to look at the pain without throwing a platitude blindfold on.
It is not ok. It is not going to be ok. God is not going back in time to make it better. I need strong, aware hope, not platitudes. Platitudes are an easy out. A way of saying, "I can't handle looking at your pain, so I am going to throw something at it and run."
Another possible interpertation of Joel's verse is that God has judged, and He is going to repay. He sent a famine, and the people suffered, and now He is going to send a bountiful harvest and He will make up for the shortfall. Again - not helpful here. Not unless you want to say that living in this anger is God's judgement on me.
Which I struggle enough to keep believing that isn't true. Because the enemy whispers that it is. And the church puts it in different words and agrees with him.