She was a petite woman in her late twenties. She hesitantly walked through the door of the grocery store with her head down. Her blue eyes displayed a sense of humbleness or possibly it was unworthiness. Fumbling in her handbag, she walked over to the store’s front desk situated near the check-out lanes. With deliberate slowness she pulled a piece of paper from the ba…g while looking around to see if anyone was watching.The manager curtly snatched the paper from her hand and picked up the intercom to summon a stock boy to the counter. As the broadcast echoed through the store the young woman quickly backed away from the counter clutching her handbag in shame and embarrassment.
Within minutes, the stock boy returned to the front desk and handed the woman a Christmas ham. She meekly tucked it under her arm and quickly exited the store.

I remember that scene like it was yesterday. I was that young woman; a mom with no income, broken by divorce and feeling very alone. I came from a good, hard-working family; my dad was an electrician, my mom a teacher. State aid, or welfare as it was called at that time, was not in my family’s vocabulary. Yet, there I stood waiting for a stock boy to deliver my free Christmas ham.

Sometimes life puts us in places we don’t want to be. No one is exempt. We all suffer hardships and losses that humble us and in our brokenness we are led to the front desk of God. As we stand before Him He sends out a broadcast message over heaven’s intercom “Jesus, we have a broken heart, please bring the free gift of salvation, restoration and forgiveness to the front desk.”

Jesus responds to the call, but He doesn’t just give us a Christmas ham; he includes all the side dishes, desserts and fixings for a complete meal.
It has taken thirty years for me to share my Christmas ham story without shame. As I share the story, two truths about God are revealed; truths He has proven over and over again in this earthly journey.

• We are never beyond the point of restoration, salvation or forgiveness in the eyes of God.
• God sees our broken hallelujahs as an opportunity to personally deliver a table set for a King.

The following scripture comes to mind as I share this story.

“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).

God placed this scripture in the heart of my mom as she prayed for me during those years of broken hallelujahs. God promised to restore to me three times what the cankerworm had destroyed. And you know what? God made good on His promise.

For those of you unfamiliar with the cankerworm (also known as an inch worm), it is an insect that spins a web of destruction. It seeks to devour and stunt any new growth. In the Bible, the cankerworm is compared to Satan, who seeks to destroy and devour our growth in Christ.

If you happen to be facing a crisis in your life that is causing you to bow your head in shame, I say this; stand ready for God to restore your wasted years. If the cankerworm has burrowed its way into your life and seeks to destroy, you need to boldly approach the front desk of God. Hand Him your ‘redemption’ coupon clipped from the pages of Joel 2:25.

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