“Do you remember when…?” “If I could just go back to those days when we had so little, yet were so happy.” It seems that the “good old days” syndrome transcends language, culture, and time. Whichever part of the world you travel to, the view of the past is just the same.
Job’s story is among the oldest ones in the Bible, and he looks to his past and remembers the “good old days.” But for Job, no one would fault him for his perspective. Everyone would agree that he was at the lowest point of his life. Anything in his past must be better. But focusing on the past has several negatives.
First, we tend to glorify the past. Somehow, events and people from the past become simply bigger than life. Job reflects on his past in chapter 29, and it’s certainly awesome. Past events take on a new significance much further than its former reality. People in the past increase in their significance and become bigger than life.
Second, we fail to “live” the present. We are meant to experience the present as it is. Because of this focus on the past, Job filled his days with questions and confusion. He allowed the words of his friends to take him on an emotional spiral that proved to be meaningless. Then God comes and cancels all of their arguments and Job’s complaints. Then beginning with chapter 38, God simply describes his might and splendor. He seems to be saying that instead of looking at the present and reasoning everything out, just look to Him and His greatness. He alone is the answer to your confusion and turmoil.
Third, we may sabotage the future by not living the present. No matter how bad the situation is, the present is meant for us to experience and to learn from. These lessons are essential for building us up and getting us ready for the future. So, does a difficult present situation imply that you can assume a great future? Though we may not be aware that we are headed there, the present is what leads to the future.
How should we handle the present? Can it be any different? Since Job was busy comparing with his past, his present became a time of greater turmoil. Sure, his predicament was severe and unimaginable, but the focus on the past made it exponentially worse. Ultimately, God in his mercy intervened and helped to bring stillness to his confused and trembling heart.
So, do you remember when…? Forget it. Just live the present. Live it in all of its glory, its ugliness, its brokenness and its confusion. Whether you enjoy it or not, live it. While you’re at it, listen for God’s still small voice. He is speaking to you. Just Listen…do you hear him?
Just how are you doing with living the present? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section of this blog by clicking here.
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