Humans around the world have many things in common regardless of culture, language, or creed. One example is that we universally idealize the past. We imagine the good old days when things were simpler or better. We hold onto that belief whether facts support it or not. It is a universal fantasy. If we were able to travel through time into that idealized past, we would find people desiring their “good old days”as well. The truth is that the present, that is “real life” as we know it, has always had its problems, its trials, its sorrows, and its pain. Part of our way of coping with difficult times or circumstances is to imagine a past that invariably had fewer problems, a past in which people were happier and life was better. For some, that past exists further back, before the pain of our more recent difficulties. I am certain that we all wish we could go back to a simpler time, even to a fairly recent time before we heard of Covid-19. We don’t like the new normal very much.
I think this nostalgic view of a happier past arises from something deep in the human heart. There is a deep-seated need in us to hope. We wish for deliverance from present problems. So, we idealize a problem-free past. But, coupled with this desire for the past is a hope for a better future. The Christian faith causes us to hope for a better future, a future superior in every way from the past. It is a hope for a time promised to us when there is no sorrow, no crying, no pain, and no more death “for the former things are passed away.” Our faith in Christ does not take us back to a fantasy but forward to a redeemed reality. It calls us to look to the future with hope when there will be a new heaven and a new earth and a new us.
Faith, as described in the New Testament, has a history, a past, on which it stands, but it is always focused on the future. Hebrews 11 points to the great men and women of faith who have gone before us, but Hebrews 12 points us to the future. We are to move into that future with faith and hope. We are to run with endurance the race now set before us. So, in the middle of trying times, don’t look back with sad desire, but look forward with confident hope. Not hope in the progress of humanity, but hope in the promises of God! I have selected some biblical passages for you to read and pray over. I hope (there’s that word again) that you will read them, and let the Lord lift your eyes from the present reality, with no backward glance, to a bright future that He has prepared for you. For every Christian, there is an eternity that causes the present problems to pale to insignificance. Live in the power of that promise today!
2 Corinthians 4-5, Hebrew 11-12, Revelation 21:1-7; 22:1-5