I also miss the days when even though most did not believe in Jesus as I did, one was not viewed as a narrow minded bigot for believing. I miss the days when there was some sense of morality and even manners that kept some sort of leash on offensive speech and behavior in public. I am not alone. I encounter a lot of Christians who lament the loss of the “good old days” and are striving mightily to somehow turn back the clock on our culture.
I think, though, that a more profound reason for not fretting about what used to be is that it focuses us on the past. It actually prohibits us from living in the present. When we major in being discouraged about where things are today we will be less hopeful, less joyful, have less energy and likely have less positive effect on the people in our lives. I like what Timothy Larsen, professor at Wheaton College says, “The world is used to Christians who are alarmed, angry, fearful, despondent, grumpy. Such a posture only reinforces their complacent assumption that faith is a relic of the past which is in the process of passing away forever. I have found that they are confused and intrigued by Christians who are confident, witty and cheerful. They start to wonder if we know something that they don’t know about what is really true and how things are really going to turn out.”
We do know some things they don’t know. We know that as Jesus said in Matthew 16:18 the gates of Hades will not prevail against his church, so no matter how bleak things might look in our culture our Lord is going to win. We know that God says in Isaiah 46:10, “I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand.’” God has known from long ago all about what is happening these days and he has a plan that is not threatened in the least. We know that in 1 Peter 5:10 the God of all grace, “will restore you and make you strong.” The strength of my youth will not only be restored, it will be made better by our God. We have ample reason to be hopeful and joyful as we live with all passion today no matter what things may be like. As Dr. Larsen said, rather than be discouraged and casting my eyes to the past, I should forge ahead “confident, witty and cheerful,” for my God is great.