At youth group the other night, the lesson was about cicadas.
Okay, not really. It was about the locust storm in the book of Joel, and my husband, Captain Caffeine, thought that cicadas are like small locusts. But one of the high schoolers said no, and I don't even know what a cicada is, so we decided the lesson was not about cicadas.
Anyway, in Joel, there's been a huge swarm of locusts that pretty much ate everything. In the land of Israel, there were no flowers (Valentine's Day would suck), no trees (you'd get a good tan with no shade from the 100 degree heat), no fruit (no orange juice for breakfast), no wheat (I think I'd die without Frosted Flakes).
The reason the locusts came isn't clear except that the people of Israel had sinned. It was probably the usual Baal worship, child sacrifice, rampant sleeping around with prostitute priestesses, and overall turning away from God.
So God sent the locusts, and sent the prophet Joel to call the people to repentance.
Now, for me, repentance doesn't come easy. It probably doesn't come easy for anybody. I am often rather clueless that I'm turning away from God, and need a swift upside the head to get that duh moment.
But once I get to that point, Joel teaches that I need to really mean it. And that takes some deep soul-searching.
Am I just saying the words, or is my repentance coming from that true place inside of me? Do I really understand the gravity of what it is to turn away from God? Do I really care?
We ended the lesson by having everyone go off by themselves, and we read a short script about repentance. Then we had people take time to really be on their faces before God about anything God convicted them to pray about.
The lesson from Joel was good for me, because it not only brought the high schoolers into a different frame of mind from the usual Bible study, it made me examine myself, too.
How about you? Why not take a few minutes right now to ask God if there's something you need to repent from?