No less than six times, in chapter 6 of The Story, the people longed for the “good old days”. It is always interesting to see how we cling to the familiar and comfortable no matter how damaging and unhealthy it may be. We tend to look back on our lives with a filter, subtracting the negative and only remembering the positive. And yes, I understand that we are supposed to forgive and forget and not dwell on past problems and troubles, but in the same token we shouldn’t make it into something that it wasn’t.
In the case of the Israelites, they were constantly whining about something, not seeing the blessings right in front of them but instead yearning for the “good old days”. Which if they were honest with themselves weren’t good at all. They had been slaves, crying out to God to be set free from their suffering. God heard them, “came down to rescue them”, delivered them, was with them, protected them, provided for them and was leading them to the promised land. They had everything going for them but still complained, looking back on their oppression as the “good old days.” So the question we need to ask ourselves is why?
I think that the problem is a fear of change. When we start going in a direction that is different than what we are used to and comfortable with it scares us. Even though we know in our hearts that there needs to be change we still cling to the familiar. People hang on to beliefs or organizations or whatever, not because it’s right but because it’s what they are used to. Please don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. I am not advocating change for the sake of change, but sometimes we need to let go of old traditions and habits and beliefs for new ones that are more in line with the will of God.
When I have looked back on the “good old days”, I do so with regret because I relied on what I was being fed about the will of God rather than seeking His will through His word. Even as I began to see that I needed to change I resisted seeking familiarity rather than change. I thank my God for His patience as He waited for me to start looking forward instead of hanging on to the “good old days”. As disciples of Christ, we are to be forward looking people. Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) God is still leading His people to the promised land. The choice we all need to make is are we ready to follow or are we going to stay where we are hanging on to the “good old days”?