I love reading scripture in different translations. As a child, I remember watching my mother do this during her daily Bible study with six different Bibles laid out in front of her on the kitchen table and her well-worn “Strong’s Concordance” (that weighed at least 50 lbs) to look up the meanings of words in the Greek and Hebrew. I remember thinking, “What is the difference? Isn’t a Bible a Bible? Why the need to study different translations?” Now I think I get it… especially when God brings a specific scripture to mind. When I read a verse or passage in several different translations, I understand it better. It creates a bigger picture. Like an artist with an endless palette of colors – different Biblical translations can highlight words, give personal meaning to phrases and reveal more detail.
As I lay in bed – homebound for the second week in a row, I was lamenting the time I feel has been wasted while living with Lyme Disease. I am so very weary of this illness. Sometimes I don’t even have the strength to take my pills. The symptoms are time-consuming. Research is time-consuming. Treatment is time-consuming. I am tired of constantly worrying about my time that disappears before my eyes. I have begged God to remove this disease from my body – completely – so that I won’t lose any more time. Life is too short and I have so much life to live. Before this disease settled into my bones, I had never experienced the mourning of time passing in this way. I felt overwhelmed with the days, hours and minutes this disease has eaten away… and with those words I was reminded of scripture. The words from Joel 2:25 came swiftly to my heart…
“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter…” (ESV)
Here is the same scripture but in different translations of the Bible:
“And I will replace for you the years that the locust has eaten—the hopping locust, the stripping locust, and the crawling locust…” (Amplified)
“The LORD says, “I will give you back what you lost to the swarming locusts, the hopping locusts, the stripping locusts, and the cutting locusts.” (NLT)
“And I have recompensed to you the years the locust did consume, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmer-worm.” (YLT)
“I will compensate you for the years that the locusts have eaten, the creepy locusts, the stripping locusts and the cutting locusts…” (The Voice)
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten–the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm–You will have plenty to eat, until you are full, and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you” (NIV)
“I will pay you back for those years of trouble. Then you will have plenty to eat and be full. You will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has done miracles for you.” (NCV)
“I’ll make up for the years of the locust, the great locust devastation—Locusts savage, locusts deadly, fierce locusts, locusts of doom, You’ll eat your fill of good food. You’ll be full of praises to your God. The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder…You’ll know without question that I’m in the thick of life with Israel. That I’m your God, yes, your God, the one and only real God.” (The Message)
The words that describe the locusts remind me of this disease and what it has been in my life… “destroyer, stripping, swarming, consuming, deadly, savage, doom.” But what is thought provoking was that just about every translation of this scripture had a different word for “restore.” He will give back, compensate, recompense, pay me back… Wow. What a promise!
After restoration comes praise… “I will praise my God who has worked wonders”… “You will praise the Lord your God who has done miracles for you.” My favorite translation from this portion of the scripture was from The Message: “You’ll eat your fill of good food. You’ll be full of praises to your God. The God who has set you back on your heels in wonder…You’ll know without question that I’m in the thick of life with Israel. That I’m your God, yes, your God, the one and only real God.” Joel 2:26-27
Not only will my God restore, repay, replace, give back and make up for the years I have lost, but the sight of His miracles and wonders will knock me over. I will be full of His praises. He is the thick of life. He is my God and He has promised to restore the years the locusts have eaten.
I am applying this verse to my life, but I think it can be applied to anyone who has experienced loss. Loss of time waiting for answers, loss of years lived in sin, loss spent living in fear, loss of having a heart full of bitterness and anger, loss of life living with depression or anxiety… the list could go on and on. I would encourage those who know these kind of losses to have faith that God will restore that time to you. He will make things right… I believe this with all of my heart. Even though I know these words were meant for the Israelites thousands of years ago, I know my Father used this verse in my life today to remind me of His promise. He’s got this. I have nothing to fear.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
Side note: I wrote this post Thursday morning after finally scheduling an appointment with a Lyme Literate doctor. I couldn’t get in until the end of April but there are many who have to travel around the world or cross-country just to see a doctor who is knowledgable about Lyme so I am thankful this doctor could get me in at all and is only a two-hour drive. The only reason we hadn’t done this until now was due to cost. Insurance doesn’t cover LLD’s and since we have already spent crazy amounts of money on treatments, I was hesitant about going out-of-pocket so much for one appointment. However, I am also desperate for a treatment that will help me longterm which is why I made the call. That evening, God gave me another reminder of his promise. Someone from our church anonymously gave me a letter with words of amazing encouragement and love. The letter also had money in it… with hopes that it would help me with Lyme in some way. It was enough money to pay for half of my appointment cost. When I received this letter, I hadn’t told anyone about the appointment or even that we were thinking about scheduling it… but God knew. The week before that, Ryan also received money anonymously at work. Together, these amounts will almost cover the cost of the appointment. I couldn’t stop crying after I received the letter. It is not only confirmation that I’m supposed to go to this appointment, but it is confirmation that God keeps his promises and He shows us His love through our brothers and sisters in Christ. Restore. Repay. Replace.
**Also, I was raised in a Southern home where I was taught to write thank you notes for everything. It is hard for me not to be able to thank these people for being Jesus in skin to me. So, I must thank you even though I don’t know if you will ever read this. If you are reading, please know that we feel incredibly blessed by your words and your outpouring of love on our family. You showed me the love of God and my heart is filled to overflowing. May you truly be blessed for the love you have shown us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.