“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you. 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.” Joel 2:25-26
Do you feel like you have wasted your life in your eating disorder? I know that when I was struggling, I felt so… wasted. I was wasting away physically and I was wasting time trying to feel like I fit into the world around me. I was completely swarmed by the voice in my head, I was surrounded by the army of images around me—I was attacked. Just like the prophet Joel describes in our focus verses today, I felt like I my life was being ravaged. Ironically, my life was being eaten away by Satan as I chose not to eat. As I began to seek refuge from this locust-infested time, my friend would often remind me of this verse. Perhaps in the moment I was struggling, recovery was difficult, but the promise is that God will restore “the years the locusts have eaten.” I was not able to remember some things about my children as infants, but God would restore me to make new memories with them. I was not able to eat in a restaurant with my husband, but one day I would be able to be “surprised” by a restaurant date for our anniversary. I was too scared to speak or pray in public because I lacked self-confidence, but one day I would speak to 200+ women at my church sharing my story of God’s restoring power in my life. God would restore those years. My hope was in that promise.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1
Looking further into the verse from Joel, we see that part of restoration includes eating and being satisfied. This concept was difficult for me to understand. For me there was starving or stuffed. Underfed or uncomfortable. I never felt like I could eat and be “satisfied”. I always ate and then felt ashamed. Fullness was failure to me. I had to learn from my treatment team that fullness was healthy. Learning to honor fullness is also healthy. There is no shame in eating plenty and being full. In fact, that is the goal.
As part of my recovery process, God showed me that eating to fullness wasn’t just something that I needed to learn to do physically, but that He intended me to feed on His Word to be filled to fullness with His Holy Spirit. Unlike physical food though, I would never be “too full” of Him. Admittedly, just like fullness of food was difficult for me to “sit with”, being full of the Holy Spirit was something I had to get used to as well.
For he hath satisfied the empty soul, and hath filled the hungry soul with good things. Psalm 107:9
In recovery, there is sometimes the need for “weight restoration.” At first, when my treatment team mentioned this, I thought, “Why don’t they just say what they mean? They want me to ‘gain weight’!!” But that is not what they wanted. The purpose of weight restoration is not to gain extra weight that it not needed. Rather, it is to restore or recover weight that the body needs to function and thrive. We go from ravaged to restored physically. But it is more than that. We recover the fullness of life that was stripped away and emptied out of us. When we are able to eat and be satisfied physically, we can begin to consume the life for which we have hungered. Ultimately, it is not weight that is being restored, but our selves.
God wants to restore the years your eating disorder has eaten. He wants you to seek Him as the ultimate source of nourishment, provision, and protection from the swarms that besiege you. He wants you to feel the fullness of His glory. He desires to give you the satisfaction that only He can only be found in Him. When this finally happens, we will praise the name of the Lord and we will do so unashamed!
O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:8
The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Psalm 22:26
Breathing In (Bible Study)
- Read Joel 2:25-26
- What have the ‘locusts’ eaten from your years?
- Ask God to restore what the locusts have eaten.
- Are you able to take in the nourishment of God’s Word regularly? Is this something that is uncomfortable? If so, why do you think you have that feeling?
- If you regularly partake of Scripture, how does it ‘feed’ you? Do you feel like it nourishes you spiritually? (give you strength, sustain, satisfy you?) Why or why not?
- What do you think about the part of the verse that says, “…, my great army which I sent among you.” Why might God send an army of locusts to attack His people? What blessing does that produce?
- What role does physical nourishment play in your spiritual nourishment? Conversely, how does your spiritual satisfaction relate to your physical satisfaction?
- Journal any other thoughts about the other verses in today’s devotion. What would it mean for you to taste and see that the Lord is good? To eat and be satisfied? For what good things does your soul hunger? What role does trusting in and seeking God have in your ability to “feed” on Him?
Breathing Out (Prayer)
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Prayer from Ephesians 3:16-19