Joel 2:11-13 The Lord gives voice before His army, For His camp is very great; For strong is the One who executes His word. For the day of the Lord is great and very terrible; Who can endure it? “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.” So rend your heart, and not your garments; Return to the Lord your God, For He is gracious and merciful, Slow to anger, and of great kindness; And He relents from doing harm.
In this prophetic passage, the critical question is immediately followed by the powerfully convicting answer. Joel prophesies the Day of the Lord, and asks, “Who can endure it?” The next word “therefore”, is followed by the prophet’s urgent counsel: “Turn to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning!” Real repentance — not some superficial, wimpy, “I’m sorry God”, but a deep, sorrowful, heart-wrenching cry with fasting, that means business and recognizes the terrible danger ahead — is what is required.
I have to ask myself, how willing am I to enter into this depth of repentance in order to restore, or deepen my relationship with my Lord, or to cry out in identification with a dying world full of lost souls. Are my emotions and my soul willing to be passionately engaged with the grim reality in and around me? How does this affect my prayer life? or my attitude toward my sins? As I look at this world, I clearly see the Day of the Lord looming on the horizon. This prophecy may never be more applicable than it is now, in our very day.
Let’s take a serious account of things, and allow ourselves to be truly, profoundly moved by what we find. If, as the Lord told us, those that mourn are blessed, then let’s not shrink back from what we see in ourselves and in the world around us..”There is a time to mourn”…the Lord will be rejoicing. He is seeking those who will recognize and deeply repent of their sin…and He longs to forgive and restore us.