Do you remember the “good ole’ days”? Unless you’ve been living a blues song, you probably do (and maybe even then). Many people can identify those times that “were the best days of our lives.” How about you? When were those best days? I remember being a teenager, being told “enjoy these days; they are the best days of your life,” and I always found that rather depressing. If those days were the best ones, why live out the rest?
I’ve met many parents who absolutely loved some previous stage of their children’s lives; they loved the tiny baby in arms or they loved the loving toddler. Some just loved the adventurous preteen or the active teenager.
Then there were all of the wonderful moments in our lives – I know plenty of people who would love nothing more than to go back in time and relive various memories, especially to relive special times with loved ones who have since passed away.
The Bible tells us to remember. The book of Deuteronomy is full of the word “remember.” God continually reminds His people what He has done. Why does He do that? He gives us a memory on purpose. He wants us to look back and to see where He has been at work in our lives, especially where He has delivered us. In Deuteronomy, He reminds His people how He brought them out of Egypt miraculously, how He fed them and took care of them, how He drove out their enemies before them.
Unfortunately God’s people often got caught up in their memories and looked back nostalgically to places and times gone by. They got so wrapped up in the memories, their version of what happened, that they could hardly face the present, let alone the future. They constantly grumbled that they wanted to go back to Egypt (where they were enslaved), and because of their obsession with their twisted memories, they couldn’t accept the present, let alone the future. They couldn’t understand or accept how God was working, providing for their every need.
They missed out on the reason for these memories: to encourage us in the days to come. Not to repeat the days in the past, as good (or bad!) as they might have been. When we look back and see how God has worked in the past, we are empowered to live today (and tomorrow) in full trust and to use our memories to encourage others!