TAKE BACK THE YEARS THE DEVIL HAS STOLEN FROM YOU

I was once with a great man of God who was looking back on his life and surveying the wreckage he has seen in America.  This general in the army of God sighed deeply and said, “If only I were a younger man…”  I interrupted him and said, “YOU ARE A YOUNGER MAN!”  At that moment I had nothing to back up my statement, but I felt that I had just blurted out something very important.

Not long after that, I was with an older woman who had received a great miracle of healing.  While she was grateful for her restored health, she was also regretting the years that Satan had stolen from her.

Soon after, I was listening to another saint explain how unfair it seemed that huge chunks of her life had been taken from her.  She added with regret, “I just want them back!”

Right now, a lot of people are looking back on their lives and feeling that many years have been stolen from them.  They recount scenes of besetting sin, betrayal, calamity, sickness, and just plain mistakes that have had a huge impact on their lives.

There are lots of people who are feeling a special turmoil right now.  They are torn by conflicting emotions—they are feeling like they are too tired or that it is too late to start over—while at the same time they are burning with passion to take on a new mission.

Hollywood senses this and makes films like RED: Retired and Extremely Dangerous that touches this need for revenge on the past.  There is a right way to do this. This is not for personal gain bur by the vengeance of our God.

However this turmoil is far from just a crisis that is felt by those who are older in years.  Many young believers struggle with the sense that something has swept in like a swarm of locusts and robbed not just their past, but their future.  Dreams are held in limbo, and they live feeling like they are trapped in a holding pattern and that they are losing valuable time.

Joel 2:25 says, “So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewing locust.”

So what does that mean?  Can we be renewed like the eagle? Can we get back the years that the enemy has stolen?

The answer is: WE NOT ONLY CAN, BUT WE MUST!

In that moment when I exclaimed to that man of God, “YOU ARE A YOUNGER MAN!” it was not clear to me what I was actually saying.  Now I realize that the Holy Spirit does want to give us back the years that Satan has stolen!

Here is how:

1. Wait on God for specific fire to burn out spiritual fatigue and regret. Isaiah 40:31, “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”  

It is time for you to get up and get going! But to do so, you will need to make some bold moves and big decisions.  Realize that it is not so much that your body is tired, as your spirit.  Go to war in prayer! And specifically, claim, seize hold of, and seek God’s promise that He will fuel and direct those who wait on Him.

2. Do not merely settle for restored energy—what you are after is a total revolution in your mind and body.  Some of what you have suffered in your past has been because you have not been bold, but timid.   You went along with things and you did not make the demands on life that were just, right, and Biblical.  Now you must boldly press into the promises found in God’s Word. And you must also apply God’s grace.  You will now say, ‘No’ to things that you once said, ‘Yes’ to.

Repeat after me: “No, I am not too old.  No, I am not going to sit still.  No, it is not too late!”

Conversely, you will now say, ‘Yes’ to things that you once said, ‘No’ to!

“Yes, I can do it!  Yes, I can finish my race! Yes, I can do all the things that Christ gives me strength for!”

Here is what your new attitude must look like:

Joshua 14:10, “And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive, as He said, these forty-five years, ever since the Lord spoke this word to Moses while Israel wandered in the wilderness; and now, here I am this day, eighty-five years old. 11 As yet I am as strong this day as on the day that Moses sent me; just as my strength was then, so now is my strength for war, both for going out (to war) and for coming (back) in.”

3. You get back the years that you have lost by now receiving an abundance of years!  Locusts destroyed Israel’s crops because of judgment.  The damage ate up years of crops.  What God promised in Joel was: “I will restore the years.”  God promised that you shall be comforted according to the time that you have been afflicted, and shall have years of plenty that will more than make up for the years of famine.

There is a similar passage in one of the few Psalms written by Moses, Psalm 90.  In it, Moses is asking for equal time. 15 “Make us glad in proportion to the days in which You have afflicted us, and to the years in which we have suffered evil.”

This is not just added time, but it is added results that will put your life back in the plus column:  Haggai 2:9, “The latter glory of this house shall be greater than the former,” says the Lord of Hosts; “And in this place will I grant you peace…”

Not just added time, but long life that satisfies: Psalm 91:15, “He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him, and show him My salvation.”

4. Live to leave something for the next generation. Psalm 71:18, “Now also, when I am old and gray headed, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.”

I believe that great men and women have been kept alive by their passion to impart a legacy to the next generation.  So long as they stubbornly mentored, imparted, and wrote great works of wisdom, it kept them alive.  

The bottom line is, you are not done—not by a long shot.  Pray, plan, and pursue God, expecting to receive unique gifts that will help us all to overcome the evil of our time!