I think that with everything going on in the world that it would be easy to decide that the good old days are behind is but they aren’t right now. I hope by the end of this article I will be able to convince you that these are the good old days right now. When we look at it that way we don’t want to miss them.
Joshua 21-24 says 21 He said to the Israelites, “In the future when your descendants ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 22 tell them, ‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the Jordan before you until you had crossed over. The Lord your God did to the Jordan what he had done to the Red Sea[b] when he dried it up before us until we had crossed over. 24 He did this so that all the peoples of the earth might know that the hand of the Lord is powerful and so that you might always fear the Lord your God.”
These verses are a reminder that Joshua had the people of Israel set up a memorial to remind them of the good old days. The times in their life where God had really done something miraculous and provided for them in a different way. These were stories that would be passed down through generations of God’s faithfulness. It’s easy to look at those stories and think that those were the good old days when God did all kinds of amazing miracles but there was lots of suffering and immense pain. Starving for 40 years to get into the promised land. All of this took place for God to be glorified. Did the Israelites think that when they crossed the Jordan that it was the good old days? Were they living with the excitement that they were laying down history that would be repeated for thousands of years? I doubt it. I imagine they were cooking their food, going to the bathroom, and keeping their kids from getting too dusty in the desert. They were probably focused on the day-to-day, their sacrifices, and the mundane little tasks. They probably never thought that people generations later would look back and want to participate in that time in history. I hope that I can give you some examples from my life that I think of as the good old days, even if things were tough. The goal is to switch our perspective today so we can make today be one of the good old days.
Let’s start with some fun stories from when my kids were little. One classic memory that I think of is when my kids were little we took them to Acadia National Park. If you don’t know where that is, it is a park just south of Bar Harbor, Maine and we went up there to camp for a week. I remember this fondly. We connected with the children and thoroughly enjoyed the time. What I haven’t told you is that this trip was probably the most infamous camping trip we’ve been on. We have been on 2 really hard camping trips. On this one, our big 12 passenger van broke down and we borrowed a 12 passenger van from where we lived and worked. We had some bikes on the back of the van. Our daughter was probably around 1 or 1.5 which would mean that my oldest child Jonathan was 7. So we had 6 kids, 7 and under, 2 of my sisters, my husband, and myself. Somehow we managed to pack enough bikes for everyone inside the van, with the 4 laregest ones hanging off the back. We stopped at a rest area to do some hiking on a trail. On our way out of the rest area, we actually hit a speed bump going too fast. When the van bumped the cord that was holding the bike rack snapped and all 4 bikes fell off onto the road. 2 of the bikes were damaged and needed to be fixed in order to use them. We drove into town, found a bike shop, and took the damaged bikes inside. While they were being repaired, we got something to eat and later came back to retrieve our fixed bikes. When we got into the van(the one we borrowed) it wouldn’t start. Then, with our 6 kids and 4 adults, we rented 2 taxis to take us back to the campsite. We had a tow truck pick up the van and take it to the mechanic shop, and then we were stuck at the campsite. It also decided to rain A LOT. Young kids, camping, and rain are not the best combinations. Even if we wanted to pack up and leave we couldn’t because the van was in the shop. There were some really challenging things about that camping trip. I remember being so tired and yet I look back and think about all of the precious moments we had. We went and saw a movie, we took taxis, played games and we colored. There were beautiful connections and lovely hiking, swimming, and fishing. There are all of these things that I look back fondly on and yet in the moment it was hard.
Another example is more recent. Last year (two years ago as of this blog post) when we moved into this house the whole thing needed tons of work. I knew before we moved the furniture in that I wanted to paint the walls. After we signed the contract, the children and I moved into the house and we all slept in sleeping bags in 1 room while we cleaned and painted every other room in the house. We probably worked for 3-4 weeks before we moved all of our belongings into the house. It was hard work, I was sore and tired. There were a lot of difficult things that were going on. We discovered that the shower was broken and we needed to replace both the heating and A/C systems. In that moment, I thought about how hard it was but when I look back I think about how precious the time was that I got to spend with my kids. There was something precious about all of us being in the same room together at night to sleep and being able to wake up together, too. We grew closer together as a team through the work. I look back and think of that time working so hard as the good old days.
I could list a whole lot more. I could talk to you about the time we took a 3 week trip with 5 little kids 6 and under all the way from New Hampshire to Oklahoma. I could talk about how the good old days include lots of house hunting or sitting around a campfire last week that I didn’t really want to start. The good old days include homeschooling my little kids in the living room. At the moment there was a lot to be annoyed with, to fret about, and be worried about, and yet I think of those memories fondly. What was awful and what was nice? It’s all about our perspective. I want to encourage you that we all have the same choice today about today. All too often we don’t notice that we are living in the good old days until they are gone. What if we could look today as THIS IS the good old days and not have to wait until it’s gone? What if we could see the benefits of our children adapting? There are always going to be needs to meet. I challenge you to think about these days as sweet. Today is a gift and I encourage you to start now to remember it that way. It will only get sweeter with time.
Proverbs 11:25 says: “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” These days let’s live and give with goodness and joy to others. Let’s have a contagious spirit of the goodness of God. We can be fully present right now to the goodness of God. As we share the goodness of God with others, it will return to us. I encourage you to look at the circumstances and enjoy them as the sweetest moments in your life.
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