Nostalgia is a funny thing. It appears suddenly, seizes you and holds you down, rendering you immobilized for any amount of time that it sees fit.
I would be lying if I said that I never felt that twinge of nostalgia every now and then. I remember this one particular instance, after I moved to Mumbai from Dubai, I was sitting at home early one evening and the rays of the setting sun splashed its yellow and orange hues on the cupboard that was facing the window. As I looked upon these colors, I was immediately taken back to my days in Dubai as a kid, where I used to see the same colors on the cupboard in our bedroom.
Then it happened, the yearning for the days gone by, my childhood days where I grew up with the comforts of home and not a care in the world. As these thoughts went through my mind, I start experiencing a tightness in the chest, and I would find myself sighing and staring into nothingness for a considerable amount of time.
As I was thinking back on this episode, I wondered why I longed for those days so much. Why this sense of longing and loss?
Don’t we all experience this kind of yearning? It could be for our childhood days, college days or any other point in our lives that we yearn for. Why do we do it? I daresay it’s because we truly believe that the old days were better than what we’re experiencing now, that those were indeed the good ol’ days. What we’re experiencing now is far too painful or dull, and we wish we could be taken back to days that weren’t the case.
Without downplaying what you might be going through currently, I want to point you to a direction that has made me yearn for “the good ol’ days” lesser than I used to.
The Goodness of God
God is good and has been good to me. Does God have to be good to me? Not really. Yet this God, whom the Bible describes as holy and just, has been good to a wretched and rebellious sinner like me, and all of this is because of someone who took away my wretchedness and rebellion to make me clean and a friend of God. The cost of making me right before God was borne by Jesus Christ, when he gave himself up for me on the cross.
This is just the beginning though. Now that I have been made right with God, through faith in what Jesus Christ has done, the face of the Lord is now towards me, and the goodness, blessing and mercy reserved for his children are now available to me. Whatever God means for me, he means it for my good.
Here’s the kicker, it doesn’t just end with me being made right with God, but I’m being renewed each day, and my capacity to understand and fathom the depths of God’s character, his love, his wisdom is on an upward trajectory. The depth in which I know God now is more than when I was 21, it’s more than when I was 16, I didn’t even know and believe in God when I was 12! There is no greater prize, I see, than being able to say with increasing confidence and desperation that “I have no good apart from you” (Psalm 16:2).
Mourners with Hope
Nostalgia is not always a bad thing but it can leave us dangerously dwelling on the past while forgetting all that’s good today and the hope we have for the future. We are not a people who wistfully sing “those were the days of our lives” as the song by Queen goes but we have hope of a final redemption, as the Lord promised to come back and take us with him, to be with him always. (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
Rejoice in hope (Romans 12:12) dear friend, and fight the threat that nostalgia so often brings to take you down.
Author’s Note: This article also appears on The Gathering Community Church website.
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