We often look into our past or the past of the churches we belong to and long for the good old days. We believe that those times were easier, better, richer, fuller, more glorious, funner, happier, and overall just greater then anytime we are currently experiencing. We want to go back to those old days when things seemed better; however, if we are absolutely honest we will acknowledge that those times had there own difficulties.
In Exodus 16:3 (and other places) the people of Israel longed for the “good old days.” They had been in the wilderness for some time and they began to complain. Notice in verse 3 what they complain about. They complain by saying “Would that we had died by the Lord’s hand in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat, when we ate bread to the full; for you have brought use out into this wilderness to kill the whole assembly with hunger.” Notice what they are saying here. They are saying that we were better off in abject poverty and in brutal slavery then we are in this freedom in the wilderness. They began to look back and instead of seeing clearly, they were seeing through a fog. They long for the good old days of hard work and slavery?
This is how deluded we can become when things in front of us seem a bit unclear. We want there to be the clarity of knowing what is in front of us and how to deal with it. The people of Israel here did not know all that was before them. They had not seen the promised land. All they could see was the wilderness and the difficulty of the moment. Change is often like this. Whether we experience change in our personal lives or in our church, we want clarity. When we don’t have that clarity we begin to long for the good old days that were so grand.
The people of Israel inflated the good things about those good old days and minimized the bad. We do this too. We inflate statistics about the attendance of a church or about the prosperity we had at the time. We minimize the conflict, spiritual doubt, personal crisis, and suffering of those days.
We may look into the future and only see dimly or not at all, but if we will trust the Lord he will take us to the promised land. We have all experienced some good old days, but we need to be honest with ourselves about how good they really were. We need to strive toward what God has for us in his plans. Let us not go back, but look forward to the days ahead.