Faith Reflections

The Good Ol’ Days

I arrived at a local hospital this morning to visit a church member. For the first time since March 2020, I was allowed to park and enter the hospital where I did each Wednesday for years before the pandemic upended our world. As the rain peppered my windshield, I reflected on everything that had changed these past three years since I last parked in this lot. The death of our pastor. The death of my sister. The death of so many dear people. The death of so many certainties.

I often catch myself longing for the “good ol’ days.” The days of my childhood when I was carefree with more days ahead than behind. The days of ministry when all seemed known, the team was in place, and rituals and routines provided a sense of security. The days when my sister was with us, and life didn’t feel so fragile.

But distance makes things fuzzy sometimes. If I squint, I recall things weren’t always carefree or known. I didn’t always feel secure or invincible. Many of the underlying fears I have now were fears I had then.

The Spirit reminded me this morning these longings are sourced from fear and a lack of trust. As the Israelites longed for the security of Egypt when faced with wilderness, we long for what is known rather than trusting God with the unknown. We idealize the past, smoothing over the rough edges to make it fit what we need it to be when faced with the uncertainties of today and tomorrow.

And yet, it is the rough edges of our journeys that bear witness to God’s enduring faithfulness. We do not reframe Israel’s story. We remember it. All of it – the joys, the sorrows, the good, the bad. We retell it to remind us of God’s enduring faithfulness to us in whatever wilderness we find ourselves in today.

The invitation is to remember the past with gratitude and honesty rather than an idealized escape from the uncertainty of today, to remember what would not be today if we’d never left what was known, to remember God’s enduring faithfulness to us in all seasons. Thanks be to God.

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