Looking back can trap us in nostalgia. Lionel Bart’s, musical comedy “Fing’s ain’t what they used to be” humorously summed up the attitude in the nineteen sixties. In stark contrast we share in the sadness of the exiled writer of Psalm 137 “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion”. Tragically this will resonate for all too many people today.
We are all getting older! The ageing process can induce a depressed way of thinking about life, wishing we were young again but knowing that can never be.
However for those of us who have come to know Christ and tried to live a Christian life, taking a long view can bring profound thanksgiving and wonder.
We remember people who influenced us and even corrected us in the early stages of our journey. Or moments when we, in our turn, were able to help others and thereby witness to the faith that drives us.
Then there are those amazing “chance” happenings which at the time we thought we just co-incidences, but in the long run turned out to be life changing. Looking back and taking the “long view” of these, together with so many other events, should make us profoundly thankful that our unique story is so precious and faith building… “My times are in your hands” Psalm 31:15a
Actually the nostalgia for the past in Psalm 137 is quite an exception. There are many Psalms which recall the wonderful things God has done for his people. The refrain in Psalm 136 perhaps sums up how we feel when we take the long view of what God has done in our lives “For his mercy endures for ever”