Remembering Former Things

Job 29:2: “Oh that I were as in months gone by.”

Observation: Job 29 is a walk with Job back in time to the days before his afflictions began. He recalled what it was like to have been in the prime of life knowing that God’s friendship spilled over and blessed every part of his life. He recalled the joy of being surrounded by children and the honor paid him by young and old alike as he walked through the public square. He had championed the cause of the needy and opposed evil at every turn. He could recall a time when the roots of his life stretched to an endless supply of fresh water, and he remembered having the sense that it would never end, that life would always be as it had been. But then he said, “Oh that I were as in months gone by.” There is no trace of anger or blame over his current condition. Rather, we are simply given to understand that he longingly recalled what life was like, and no doubt wished he could be in that place once again.

Application: Where it seems that Job departs from me is that in honestly recalling what he loved about his former life, there is not a hint of sin in his words.  There was nothing wrong in Mrs. Lincoln’s wish that they had skipped the play that evening. There was no sin in the Astors’ preference that they had booked another vessel as the Titanic sank beneath them. 

My sin is in not finding contentment in God regardless of my circumstances. Like Job, I may well have known a time when relationships were fresher and more promise-filled. There was indeed likely a season when bodies were firmer and health more sure. There is no wrong in remembering those days with a grateful heart. But as time passes and once-promising futures don’t quite become fulfilled, what enters my heart then? Do I continue to trust in God in the midst of a rotten marriage? Am I still gladly His when death tears my heart asunder? Do I see Him as the God who provides when I have been unfairly terminated late in a career or when being chased by lawyers? Is He only my God in the good times, only the Author of life when I am at ease? How dissonant that would seem to most of the body of Christ in the hovels and shantytowns of the world. 

Prayer: O Lord, cause me today to go deep into You, to get my eyes off outward circumstances. I want to value only what You value, to esteem what You esteem, and that has nothing to do with the outward things of life. I choose today to die to all this, that You might raise me in newness of life.

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