March 4

Joel 2:1-2, 12-17

“Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.” vs. 13b

A plague of locusts had descended upon Israel and Joel believed that they were a sign that the day of judgment was near. He pleads with the people to return to God with genuine repentance and not empty ceremonies. He wants them to know that God is full of grace and love and is not vindictive or punishing. Through the years his words have brought hope to countless suffering souls driven to the brink of despair. So many people live in this world tormented by the forces of darkness and evil. They’ve been despised and rejected and are well acquainted with pain and sorrow. There’s so much ugliness in our world and too many have drunk deeply from the cup of suffering…they’ve given up hope and can barely find the energy to live from day to day. What a blessing it is when such persons catch a glimpse of the God described by Joel! That message of grace and steadfast love fills their hearts and gives them reason to live. Some even find the strength to turn toward the light and embrace the new life that is theirs in Christ. It’s so good to know that God is not angry with us, and even if we’ve been living in abysmal ways, God is always ready to welcome us home. It’s never too late to change!

Thought for the Day: With whom will I share a word of hope today?

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