[image: FlowerSketch, 2010, JA Van Devender]
Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NKJV)
10 Do not say, “Why were the former days better than these?” For you do not inquire wisely concerning this.
Guilty as charged!
I cannot absolutely correlate it with advancing age but I am aware that every "older" generation has been accused of this vice: that of continually looking back through rose colored glasses and saying "ah yes, it was better then."
I know the Israelites, at one point looked back "fondly" on their time in Egypt, as ludicrous as that appears to us. I grew up with adults talking about those "...*&%$)($!@ communists" who were destroying this country by what they were teaching in college and what those "fools" in congress were doing to the nation. In hind sight they were prophetic to some extent... but their view of the "good ole days" was decidedly myopic. They were right about the dangers... but they wouldn't admit that some stuff needed changing.
The natural tendency, I think, to look back on the past is because there is a past to look back on. Young people are immune to this. They, in one sense, don't have a past and so they look, if at all, only to the future and they cast on it their own particular hues. Today's cynical youth don't expect much of the future and many of them, therefore, don't think much of themselves. But the older one gets the more inclined one is to look back on the days when life was simplier because of youth and therefore the world was "brighter." This is not wise, as the Preacher duly notes above.
Here is the rub. What if the past truly was better? There is that scriptural injunction to "return to the rock from which you were hewn..." (Isa. 51:1) There are times when one should and must look back to better days and repent of the choices, foolishness, perversions which have stripped our days of joy and robbed our nights of peaceful sleep. Sometimes it is wise to ask "how did it come to this?" It may be wise to ask, but we have to be willing to hear the answer.
There is one absolutely true thing we can say about the present that makes it better than the past, in every conceivable fashion. We are closer to the Lord's return now than we were then. (Rom. 13:11) That may be all we can say but it generally is not the case. No matter what we are going through, the Lord in His providence, has advanced the circumstances of His creation in such a manner than though we are capable of inflicting and experiencing great evil, yet we are also abundantly equipped with means to endure and persevere in it. I like air-conditioning... and hot showers... and reliable cars.... far superior medical care... etc. Not everyone has those things but the access to them, across social demographic lines, is so far superior to 50 years ago that it is astonishing. And when you see the present day, with our abundant luxuries, as a prophet would have seen it in a vision 3000 years ago, then you can understand why that prophet might have interpreted our times as being absolute heaven on earth, or conversely, as hell on earth if he saw the evil we inflict on others.
So the wise man was wise. It's best not to spend too much time looking over our shoulder. The present is all we have to work with at the moment. The future belongs to the Lord and the past shows us the road that we are on.... what is left but to do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our Lord.
I'll try not to mention the "good ole days" any more than absolutely necessary... if you will also.