As a child, an upcoming birthday–or simply thinking about your age–always brings out an excited response. It’s not rare to see that once-energetic reaction die down a little as the years go on.
We’ve all been there, and if you haven’t, you will likely be there at some point…that’s right, wanting to go back to the past. From the throwback posts to the ‘share if you’re a 90’s kid’,
nostalgia is everywhere. I would be lying if I said that in the recent months I’ve been suddenly compelled to comb through old yearbooks, photo albums, and even look up childhood friends. It is incredibly easy to get caught up in nostalgia, but snapping out of that yearning mentality is the opposite of that. Reminding yourself that you’re ultimately wasting the time you have in this moment, by focusing on your past, is easier said than done.
Recently I decided to read the book of Ecclesiastes. I would describe it as the slap in the face that I so desperately needed, but Ecclesiastes did that for me in chapter 12, verse 11: “The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails–given by one shepherd.”
Goad is another word for cattle prod, therefore it’s likening the words of the wise as something pesky, but ultimately helpful. This properly explains this specific book of the Bible, as it advises you to relish the life you have before it’s too late. From a humanly perspective, it comes off as ‘harsh,’ but keeping that main theme in mind allows you to gain valuable lessons from it. Our lives as we know them on earth are merely temporary, but God’s hold on the universe gives us an enduring hope and a purpose. We must always keep that on our hearts.
As I was reading, my eyes latched onto Ecclesiastes 7:10. They read, “Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions.”
I read that verse until those twenty words started to look like unfamiliar gibberish. In that moment, I knew God was speaking to me. So many times I’ve addressed the ‘good old days’. So many times I’ve longed for those memories. So many times…and if I could add the minutes I’ve spent wallowing in the past, how much time have I taken from my present?
It wasn’t until this moment that I truly listened to God in regards to that. He was loud and clear. Ecclesiastes 3:14 writes, “I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.” God has His hands on all of our lives. Whether we make a mistake and wish we could change it or experience a pleasant thing that we wish we could go back to, God is imploring us to keep our eyes forward.
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