Do not say, “Why were the old days better than these?” For it is not wise to ask such questions. (Ecclesiastes 7:10, NIV 1984).
My Musings – Who of my generation (baby boomer), has not at one time or another longed for the good old days? Why did the world of today have to get so complicated and disagreeable? Why can’t things be like they were in Mayberry (Andy Griffith), Mayfield (Leave It To Beaver), or Springfield (Father Knows Best). Was life ever that idyllic? The problems they faced so tame? So black and white (pun intended)? Probably not. It was television after all.
As I remember, these shows aired when schoolchildren were taught about the dangers of fall-out if they happened to survive a nuclear war. When every Friday the weekly body-count in Vietnam was announced. When a youthful President and a non-violent civil rights protestor were tragically assassinated. When a counter-culture was encouraged to “turn on, tune in, drop out.” Doesn’t quite sound like Mayberry, does it?
When life is difficult and we are impatient for change, it is easy to long for “the good old days” when things were better. It has been said that “the good old days” are the combination of a bad memory and a good imagination. Yesterday is past and cannot be changed, and tomorrow may not come; so make the most of today. “Carpe diem!” wrote the Roman poet Horace. “Seize the day!” This does not mean we shouldn’t learn from the past or prepare for the future, because both are important. It means that we must live today in the will of God and not be paralyzed by yesterday or hypnotized by tomorrow. The Victorian essayist Hilaire Belloc wrote, “While you are dreaming of the future or regretting the past, the present, which is all you have, slips from you and is gone.” Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Satisfied (pp. 87–88). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
My Advice – Mayberry is gone (if it ever existed), and we may never get it back (doesn’t look promising) before the LORD returns with His “Idyllic” promise of a millennial Kingdom and life everlasting with Him in Heaven. In between Mayberry and His Kingdom, we must seize the day. There is a feeling of frost in the air. The days are getting shorter. Night is falling. The present will pass away, don’t let the future get away.
“Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Matthew 24:20–22, NIV 1984).