"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" (Joel 2:25).
How many years did you waste before you repented and surrendered all to Jesus? How many years were eaten up by the cankerworm of sin and rebellion?
You know you are forgiven and your past is forgotten because it is under the blood of Jesus, but wouldn't you love to get back those years and live them for the glory of the Lord?
"I could have been so much deeper in Christ! I could have brought such joy to his heart! I could have saved myself and my family so much pain and suffering. How blind I was: how enslaved by the devil! How close I came to losing my soul and my sanity. I can never make up for all those wasted years." How often have you thought this?
In his final days Paul looked back over his life and testified, "I have fought a good fight, I have kept the faith. Now a crown of righteousness is awaiting me" (see 2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Paul says, "Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14). In other words, "Forget your past and press on in Jesus!"
Satan's favorite form of harassment is bringing up your past by pulling old skeletons out of the closet to scare you! He will try to persuade you that an old addiction or lust is going to rise up in your heart and take you back to the old life. Or you could succumb to pride, thinking you cannot fall—but then you would be targeted by the enemy for certain!
You might feel the pangs of remorse as long as you live. And yes, the memories will keep you humble. But in God's eyes, your past is a dead issue. As far as condemnation and guilt are concerned, God says, "Forget the past. Press on to what I promised you!"
We see a picture of such restoration in the New Testament when Jesus healed a man with a withered hand. "Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other" (Matthew 12:13). You see, when Jesus restores you, he also heals the wounds.
Beloved, take those old wounds—the worries and regrets about your wasted years—and let God restore to you the very years that were taken away. Then press on toward the prize of your high calling in him!