“The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground;
he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead.
So my spirit grows faint within me;
my heart within me is dismayed.
I remember the days of long ago;
I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done.
I spread out my hands to You;
I thirst for You like a parched land.”
Psalms 143:3-6 NIVUK
Ah! The “Good Old Days”. Remember them? When the chocolate (candy) biscuits we call Wagon Wheels in the UK used to be so much bigger. When school holidays lasted forever, with a succession of warm days. In this Psalm, David writes about being under stress, oppressed by the enemy, and he confesses to being dismayed. And he too harks back to the “Good Old Days”, when God did amazing things. He longed to return to them.
In times of trouble there is a human tendency to think back to times when there were no problems – well, at least that is what our memories tell us. How selective our memories can be. With some people they can beautifully filter out anything negative and instead leave a legacy of positive thoughts. A warm glow of how good things used to be. But in the things of God, the “Good Old Days” really were good. We have a unique and amazing book of memories, the Bible. And it is full of good thoughts, tales and happenings from “days long ago”. It is full of the wonderful things God has done throughout history. It is full of the wisdom needed for living a good life. It is full of expressions of love from the Creator for His creation. And the amazing reality of God’s Word is that it isn’t just a history book; the “days long ago”, unlike in our selective memories, extrapolate into the present, bringing water to assuage our thirst in this parched land, this spiritual desert.
At times in our pilgrimage through life, we will encounter enemy activity. Times when our spirits grow faint within us. Times when we feel like giving up. At times such as this we must, as David did, “remember the days of long ago”. Because what God did in those days He can and will do again. As we meditate on all His works, we will feel something start to rise up within us. We see a glow on our spiritual horizons, hinting at a new dawn of hope coming. The spirit within us connects with God’s Spirit and life starts to flow into the parched lands of our souls. The dawn of hope bursts into the light of a new day in God. And we spread out our hands in gratitude. What else can we do? The miracle of connection with our amazing God once again brings life to our weary souls, lightening our load, turning hope into reality.