Moving Past the Glory Days
Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.Isaiah 43:18-19
Classic rocker Bruce Springsteen wrote a popular song back in the eighties called “Glory Days”. The song laments the fact that we often stop living in the present and looking to the future. Instead, we get stuck living in the “glory days” of our past. Springsteen sings of an encounter with an old friend who was a great baseball player in high school. No matter how Springsteen tries to guide the conversation in a different direction, his friend simply cannot stop talking about high school and how he could “throw that speedball by you and make you look like a fool boy.” Springsteen continues by talking about another friend from school that lives down the street. She is a mother of two and often thinks about the days before kids when “she could turn all the boys’ heads.” Those memories, she says, help her deal with the realities of the present. Springsteen ends by talking about his own father. After losing his job at the plant following twenty years of service to the company, his dad spends his time sitting on a stool at the American Legion hall thinking about the way things used to be. The song offers these stories as cautionary tales. If we are not careful “time slips away” leaving us with only “boring stories of glory days.”
Isaiah writes these words during a period of national defeat and shame for Israel. Having neglected The Israelites, were stuck in Babylonian exile. Their kings the prophet the temple and Jerusalem … all gone. God’s presence and mighty power, once displayed among his people, now seemed to be just a memory. Time drags on with every circumstance suggesting that their “glory days” are now in the past. Into this malaise comes a word from the Lord through his prophet. Exile is not the end. God is not just God of the past. He is the Lord of the present and their future. God is about to act and do something new, that will end the wilderness and dried up riverbeds of their circumstances.
It is easy to get stuck in the past spiritually. This is particularly true when we experience times where God seems to be silent or uninvolved. Daily life seems mundane and lacking in any direction. Everyone else seems to be experiencing God in new and exciting ways, but not you. You are trapped it seems, by the daily grind of life. Maybe you are in a situation of our own doing. The enemy would love for you to believe that God is finished with you; that your time has come and gone. You deserve the silent treatment you seem to be getting from God. After all, God is not going to chart a new course for someone who has done what you have done.
No matter how you ended up in your current situation, it is natural to look for encouragement or inspiration in your past. If God did this or that in my life back then, maybe he can do it again. The risk, however, with dwelling in those spiritual “glory days” is that you end up stuck there. If you are stuck there long enough you can convince yourself that your best days with God are behind you and you give up. The words of the prophet remind us to look beyond circumstances and trust God for the future. Be encouraged. God is not finished with you yet!
Today, look past your circumstances and feelings to find encouragement in the words of the prophet. God is at work in you to accomplish his will and purpose in your life (Ph 2:13). Ask God for the strength to resist grumbling and complaining about your current situation. In humility choose to serve God in the opportunities that present themselves today, patiently trusting that God will reveal his will to you in due time.
Prayer: Lord, I acknowledge that you are the Lord of my present and future. Today I choose to trust you with my future by refusing to live in the past. Grant me the patience and humility to live faithfully in the present. Help me to find purpose and beauty in my current circumstances as I wait upon you. In Jesus name, Amen