I’ve never seen locusts in action but, apparently, they can be terrifying. The still ongoing infestation of locustsin parts of East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent has been devastating. The financial costs may top $9 billion and leave tens of millions of people food insecure for a very long time.
The destruction of locusts, mowing down all vegetation in their path, has also been used as a metaphor in various cultures to represent any kind of total ruin and tragedy that comes upon human beings. That’s likely what was in the mind of the ancient Biblical prophet Joel (5th century B.C.) who, speaking for God said, “I will redeem the years the locusts have taken.”
I have always been fascinated with that thought – the idea that somehow there can be more than just recovery from devastation. There can also be reclamation and renovation… that from the ashes of our lives can come things that are beautiful, purposeful and wondrous.
I want to stay in that idea for a while. Actually, for the whole month of May I am going to write about the hope of redemption. I want to explore how the pain of your messed up life might give rise to a calling that transforms others.
I have touched on this subject several times in the last year. Here. Here. And here. But I’m going to go a bit deeper with it, not just in my blog posts but also through social media. I may even open source this subject to seek your wisdom too. Like…how has your pain been leveraged into helping others? Leave lots of comments!
It might be time to explore the age-old question, “Does everything happen for a reason?” And process what it means to be a “wounded healer.” And, of course, talk about how disappointment can become the seed bed of destiny. Might we also muse on how we can “redeem the year that COVID has taken?”
But just to get this month kicked off, here are 5 ways that your pain can empower your calling:
- When pain takes you to rock bottom and there is nowhere to go but up, it can fuel a positive determination to live boldly…almost a sense of invincibility that can make you fearless.
- When you experience deep disappointment, it can give rise to a newly formed empathy for others in that same place.
- When your tragedy is at the hands of another, it can generate a fury to protect innocent people from a similar fate.
- When you begin to heal from your struggle, your resultant gratitude will be infectious to others.
- When you come through a life changing trauma, you know more about your peculiar affliction than you ever dreamed you would, and can be a source of knowledge and wisdom for others.
You likely will never be able to answer the question “Why did this happen to me?” and you probably shouldn’t even try. But, for sure, with an open-palmed surrender, you can look behind you at the locust-crushed fields of your life and begin to see the green of new growth. And you’ll be able to look before you at hurting people whom you can touch deeply.
And it will slowly begin to feel like redemption.