I was surprised this week to see that school has started in so many areas around here. There was a time when school started after Labor Day—I know, I am dating myself. I think my Dad called those “the good ol’ days.”
But he was realistic enough to realize that some things about the “good ol’ days” were not so good. He grew up without air conditioning in those “good ol’ days” and as time went on, he loved air conditioning. And in Texas as well as Georgia we can identify with that.
“The good ol’ days” are supposed to be our look back at a time when things were great and wonderful, we were young (younger), there was anticipation and hope for the future. There was enthusiasm about job opportunities and careers. Maybe it was getting married or having children and watching them grow up. Perhaps it was family and friends getting together. We all look back at some point and time and our recollection is that those were “the good ol’ days.”
There is a joy in thinking about some of those things. Antique stores thrive on people who find something from their past. It brings back a memory of days gone by and perhaps how good things used to be…That actually happened to me this past weekend when we were at a wedding rehearsal dinner and the restaurant had a toy steam engine just like the one I had when I was a kid—“the good ol’ days!”
But our memories can be skewed or we might be wrong about how good those days were. Sure there are good memories but we also have to be realistic. Life is difficult as we live in a fallen world. No one escapes trouble and heartache and pain and sorrow and disappointment and grief. I guess that is why we like to think about that special time in our past when things seemed to be a little bit better than they might be right now.
But you cannot live in the past. You can have an enjoyable memory but you can’t live there. And you shouldn’t. The past can also be a trap that leads us down a mental path of remembering those painful hurts and regrets. Our minds can be easily distracted from God.
There was someone in the Bible who lived during difficult times. In fact, he wrote a book entitled “Lamentations” about some of those times. Jeremiah is actually recording his “laments”, the heartache and sorrow of people facing the loss of their nation. When you read chapter 3 you see the pain and ache that Jeremiah feels and then notice verse 20 [Lamentations 3:20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.]. But Jeremiah does not let that destroy his hope. In fact, he writes what we need in Lamentations 3:21-24, "But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'"
“The good ol’ days”—whatever they were whether actually good or not so good or bad should be kept in check with the remembrance of the love of God, the mercies of God and the faithfulness of God!
As you get nostalgic make sure your recall is just like Jeremiah’s and you will live in hope and not despair. With that in mind, I guess they really were “the good ol’ days”!
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