Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?” For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.

Ecclesiastes 7:10

A ship bobs in the harbor, ready to sail. The crew is ready, the cargo loaded and the harbormaster has inspected the manifest. The captain pulls out a map. A deckhand points to the GPS. “Shouldn’t we use this, sir?” The captain shakes his head. Back in the day a paper map was good enough. “But that map is old. It still says USSR over Russia. And besides, it’s not practical to use those things anymore.” The captain is adamant. If he had his way, things would never have changed to begin with. The crew begins to wonder how far they will make it.

We often look to the past to find hope for the future. Whether it is a better time in our own past or a story of the world as it is remembered, these little slivers of life can be a crutch to carry us through hard times.

The Bible does not encourage us to be people of the past, however. We must know and learn from the mistakes of the past, that much is certain, but to yearn for a bygone day when things were better is just simply foolish.

Did past generations not sin? Were humans truly less greedy, violent and cruel? Was the name of God on every heart, guiding the World to peace and kindness? Never! Every generation has seen suffering and war and evil of all kinds. The good old days never were!

What we do have hope in, where we can look to is Heaven. If you want peace and a gentle spirit and freedom from strife, you want a better world than Earth has ever been and ever could be. Jesus went to prepare a place for us like that. We can trust Him to deliver.

As we act as Jesus would in this lost and lonely world, a world which so desperately needs Him and His people, let us look ahead to hope and behind to learn and grow.

Don’t let the pretty picture of nostalgia block your view of the awesome eternal glory of Heaven!

Ethan Kirl

Originally published August 25, 2020