Job 29:2–4 (KJV 1900) 2 Oh that I were as in months past,As in the days when God preserved me; 3 When his candle shined upon my head,And when by his light I walked through darkness; 4 As I was in the days of my youth, When the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;
As I was considering these verses this past week in preparation for our Sunday Evening Bible Study, I came across the thought of another commentator who made the application that Job was suffering from what we often refer to as, "good ol' days" syndrome. Webster defines syndrome as:
1: a group of signs and symptoms that occur together and characterize a particular abnormality or condition2 : a set of concurrent things (as emotions or actions) that usually form an identifiable pattern
Job was in the midst of reminiscing back to a time in his life when he did not face such hardship and trial. Remember, Job is facing a situation that few, if any of us, have ever dealt with: the loss of ten children, ALL AT THE SAME TIME! So, we will cut Job a little slack as he looks back to happier times.
But as I considered it this week, I was reminded how often Christians & Churches today fall into this trap that convinces them that their best days are behind them and they should just "hold on" till the end. This syndrome shows in many different symptoms. A few I have witnessed are:
- Constantly bring up blessings and victories that happened many decades ago, with no fresh stories of God's goodness and grace from today.
- A critical spirit directed at a new, younger generation who are different than we are.
- No desire to break out of the spiritual rut and attempt andy great work of faith for the Lord.
- Constantly going through the motions of religious works in the name of tradition.
We get a mentality that tells us we are to circle the wagons with us four, and no more. While we all know and understand that as the final days approach this age of Grace that many will fall away and depart from the faith (1 Timothy 4:1 ref.), does that mean that God is through with us right now?
Does that mean that God's best for us was already experienced in our past? Does that mean that we should disengage from those around us because they don't fit our ministry mold that was created one or two generations ago? Does that mean that those who don't fit our preferential ministry mold are one of the ones who have departed the faith? Or, could it be that WE have departed from the faith by ignoring and giving up on this current generation by not engaging them where they are just as someone once did for us?
Our best days don't have to be behind us - they can still be ahead of us! I am reminded of the story of Ezra and Nehemiah. Both accomplished a similar task (going back to Jerusalem), yet they both did it in ways that were completely different from each other. Ezra refused the help of the king, saying it would bring reproach to God if he did so. Yet, when it was Nehemiah's turn, he coveted the help and protection of the king. So which one was right? Because, lets be honest here, that is how we think in these situations - if they are different, only one can be correct. The truth is they were both correct in their ministry and efforts for God. God is not confined to our little box, our set mold of ministry. We often fail to remember that our "tired and true" methods are only a generation or two old, at the most. God is much bigger and greater than a generation or two.
So, lets not fall into the trap of the "Good ol' Days Syndrome." Instead, seek a fresh movement and blessing of God today as we seek to reach and reconcile a new generation for God!