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“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten” ~ Joel 2:25a

Last night was lousy for me.

The nice people doing my tax preparation called.  That wasn’t necessarily the bad part, because I’m grateful to have help this year.  With everything that happen between my husband’s death and the birth of my son, the idea of trying to do my taxes on my own seemed more than a little foolish.  Anyway, they called to ask me if I could total up all of our medical expenses for 2010, since that might make a difference on my return.

So I pulled all of the bills I could find out of my file cabinet and then I went and got the box.

If it seems I’m making a big deal out of the box, it’s because to me it is a big deal.  This box holds, in many ways quite literally, everything bad that happened to me last year.  Insurance claims.  Hospital bills.  Sympathy letters.  Death certificates.  I have a lot of reasons to hate the box.  But I opened it anyway and dug out everything and traveled down the very darkest part of my memory lane.

It felt like it took forever, and it did take a long time, to get everything sorted out and totaled up.  And when I called the tax people back this morning, they gave me good news about the painful task – it made a pleasant difference in my tax return.  To me, it felt like God rewarded me for rolling up my sleeves and facing the ugly memory of all those bills.

When I went to bed last night, I spent time reading a book that had today’s verse from Joel in it.  Until my husband died, I don’t know if I ever remember reading this verse.  Now, it has almost become one of my life verses, because I revisit it so often.  This verse reminds me that it’s okay to take my box and hold it up before God, both as an offering and a reminder that He has promised to repay all that I have lost.

And while living with a box like this humbles me and makes me more dependent on God, I think everyone has a box like mine in their life.  Maybe not a real box, as is my case, but a very real pile of painful, awful memories of brokenness and loss.  If that’s you, claim today’s verse for yourself.  Take your sorrow before the King and offer it up as a sacrifice.  He promises to restore you.