The Years the Locusts Have Eaten

Thank you so much for reading this blog.  It means a lot to me. I’m trotting back out a newspaper column I wrote on February 9, 2017.  I had to remind myself of its message then. And I have to remind myself of its message now. Maybe you can relate?

I will confess, Dear Reader, to doing a very unusual thing for an “old woman.”  Every two or three years I read the complete set of Laura Ingalls Wilder books. These books are one of my most treasured earthly possessions, a boxed set given to me by my parents when I was in first grade.  I would be hard-pressed to guess how many times I’ve read these books. The older I’ve gotten, the more amazed I am at the resiliency of the Ingalls family through hardship after hardship.

I just finished reading about the grasshopper plague which the Ingalls lived in Minnesota.  A literal plague of grasshoppers destroyed everything; all of their garden, all of their wheat, all of their oats, and all of their corn.  Charles Ingalls will not go down in history as always having made the wisest of financial decisions, and he’d built his family’s house completely on credit . . . credit which would be paid after the wheat crop was harvested, the very wheat crop destroyed by the plague.

This devastation for the Ingalls family almost did them in.  I am always amazed at their faith and have often wondered what scripture they were holding onto through situations such as Mary’s blindness, a winter where they literally almost starved to death, and later, during Laura’s husband’s stroke and partial paralysis, the death of their infant son.   

Maybe I’m silly, but I think the scripture they were holding onto after the plague of grasshoppers, came from the book of Joel in the Old Testament, where the Lord says, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” I have that verse double starred in my Bible.  Metaphorically, I feel I have some years that have been eaten by the locusts. They are years which are supposed to be some of the best years of a family’s life. They are years that are supposed to be full of joy and pride at watching children’s academic and athletic accomplishments.  They are years that are supposed to be a bit more carefree now that a couple is more financially established and little ones don’t constantly need continuous care.

And it feels exactly as if locusts have come and eaten those years.  They have been taken away from us. Almost every night I wake up, and for a brief moment, life is like I think it should be.

And then I remember, it is not.

But I know God does not break His promises.  When He tells me He will repay me for the years the locusts have eaten, I know He means business.  And further on down a couple of verses after God’s promise, He instructs me on a little task to which I need to be faithful.  He says, “And you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you.”

He will take care of the locusts.  I just need to be faithful in praising Him.  Do you feel as if you too, Dear Reader, have had some years eaten away by the locusts?  Yes, the locusts have gotten a few years from my family, let’s not deny that and be silly.  But we are going to praise the name of the Lord who promises to restore those years. And we are going to try to live rejoicing. . .every. . .single. . .day.  

And now, during COVID-19, it feels as if some more “prime years” for my teenage children have been eaten, yet again, by the locusts.  Yet, we are still called to praise the Lord. Until the next Wednesday the Lord allows.