The good old days … sometimes we wish they could still be lived out the way they were. Different memories fill the thoughts of different generations, but there is usually common ground in recalling days of deeper values, stronger families, stable communities and reverence for God. While there has never been a perfect time in history, America has certainly enjoyed days of remarkable peace and prosperity where we have lived and worked amiably among our neighbors.
Perhaps we long for the good old days because we sense that something has been lost. There was an almost unspoken bravery, nobility and sacrifice in the character of those who paved the way before us; something we took for granted and have, unwittingly, devalued. A contributing factor has been our neglect in handing down truth about our history; the faith that built this nation, the adversities that were overcome and the determination of our people to defend the cherished liberty that resulted. Why does it matter? Because to one degree or another, every generation, as well as every individual, is defined by the principles upon which they stand.
We cannot fully comprehend the concept of liberty apart from the tenets of faith. People flee countries void of Christianity because its absence brings oppression. The Christian faith is distinguished from all others because the message of the gospel is one of hope, forgiveness and life. An offer held out by choice; not by force. Yet increasingly this faith that was so foundational to America is being marginalized and muzzled. Anything may be spoken of in our times, but not the Christ of Christianity. And that causes many believers to long for the good days when the Lord was honored and the nation was blessed for it.
So, what do we do? We can look back with sighs and tears, or we can look forward with hope and courage. We, who are the believers of our day have been commissioned to speak the gospel of Jesus Christ to our generation in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. Jesus never promised that the world would eagerly embrace the message. In fact His words were quite the opposite. “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16″1
There are a lot of forces that would like to silence the gospel. It has met with resistance from the beginning and Jesus fully disclosed to his disciples that they would be stepping into a hostile world with a hopeful message. Their faithfulness met with scorn and persecution, yet they did not shrink back. Twelve imperfect, everyday men shook the world because they had walked with the Savior. Their courage was contagious and their confidence strengthened in Jesus’ promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church. Hell has certainly tried, and still does, yet it can go only so far, for God has set that boundary and empowers His people to press on in the assurance of Christ’s return.
Our best days are yet to come. Jesus will step back into this world at a moment we least expect Him and take His rightful place as King of kings and Lord of lords. And every knee will bow; every knee. Every atheist, communist, terrorist, evolutionist, every race, religion and nation will bow before the Living God. The door to eternity is through Jesus. For those who have placed their faith in Him and trusted His redeeming work, the good old days will pale in light of the glory of His Kingdom that has finally come.