Have you ever found yourself taking a moment to consider your life at present and then looked back at an earlier time and wished that perhaps you were there in the past, rather than here, in the present? I know that I have, as recently as yesterday morning. I know that I do this kind of looking back more days than not.
There is almost always a trigger. There is something that is giving me difficulty today, or is perhaps disappointing in some way. I look back and see a different set of circumstances, when something that is hard to do now was effortless then. I see a relationship that is challenging now was nothing but joy then.
In a sermon titled, "The Young Man's Prayer," Charles Spurgeon said, "We look back upon our younger days and think that they were far happier than our present state. We sometimes fancy that we used to be satisfied then, but I believe that our thoughts imagine a great falsehood."
Ouch! There is a lot of truth that touches me in those words. The satisfaction that we recall from the past, that we may find ourselves longing for in the present, was likely not as satisfying as we remember it.
This coming Sunday I am preaching from Philippians 2:9-11, where Paul writes,
"Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
In these verses Paul looks forward, to the end of history, where the lordship of Jesus Christ will be clearly evident to all peoples. Christ will be seen in a place of unparalleled honor and glory and there will be great rejoicing from his people. To combine the thoughts of Spurgeon and Paul, the "good old days" were likely not as good as we think they were, while the "day to come" will be more glorious than anything we can imagine.
We can certainly learn from our past, but we shouldn't seek to dwell there. Paul points us forward, to the glorious future promised to all people with faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Enjoy a look back from time to time, but set your eyes, and your heart, on the future promises of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.