In blog number 28 we were looking at the need to ‘remember’ – with thanksgiving – all that the Lord has done for us in our past. We saw how often, when Gods’ people didn’t take time to remember and thank Him for His faithfulness, they would go astray, and God was particularly concerned that this might happen when things started going well for them in the ‘Promised Land’. Today we are going to look at how we equally need that thankfulness, when things aren’t going that well and we start to look back with nostalgia.
We know that life is a journey, and like any journey, our lives have their ups and downs, their highs and lows, and of course a great deal of routine and ‘ordinary’ mixed in between. The children of Israel, had a really big low – their time in slavery – then a dramatic ‘high’ when they were delivered from the Egyptians twice in quick succession. They then had 40 years of ‘sameness’ in the wilderness. This 40 years was not without adventure and miracles, but it also became very challenging for them, and could be particularly boring for them, at meal times, because of the daily menu of ‘manna’.
In Exodus 15 1:18 we have the song that the children of Israel sang after their great deliverance from certain death on the shores of the Red Sea. Miriam and the women danced with their tambourines. It was a great celebration. In the midst of the narrative about what had just happened, they sing, ‘The Lord is my strength and my song, I will praise Him….I will exalt Him. They weren’t just glad to be safe, they looked back at what had just happened, remembered who had delivered them, and they thanked Him.
Much later on, as they journeyed on through the wilderness, their mood took a very different turn, and it’s a different story altogether. In Numbers 11:4 we are told, ‘the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost !!!!!!!! (exclamation marks are mine)-also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna”.
They couldn’t be grateful in the present, even ‘though they were no longer slaves making bricks with less and less straw. They could only remember with nostalgia some of the food they had access to in the midst of all the suffering that they were experiencing as slaves. They were weary of their ‘present’ and so in their ungrateful minds, the past looked ‘rosy’ and the nostalgia led to ‘grumbling and complaining.
How often are we full of thanks when something dramatic happens for us. Our ‘short term’ memory is usually quite good, but when time goes by, and life becomes a little ‘Ho Hum’ we can forget the amazing goodness of God to us, and we can look back with nostalgia at a past time in our lives. We can even forget some of the difficulties of those times and find ourselves discontent with our ‘now’.
Paul said ‘I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or want’ Philippians 4:12. And I would guess that was because he followed his own advice to ‘be thankful’ in all things. 1 Thessalonians 5:18.
So, we can easily be thankful when there has been a great answer to prayer. We can also remember to be thankful as we call on the Lord when we are in need of His help. Let us add to our list of times when we need to be thankful, those seasons in our life, which are humdrum and difficult because of their monotony. Thanksgiving will stop our nostalgia from causing us to slip into a state of ‘grumbling and complaining’.
Perhaps for some of us, this is the key to battling ‘lockdown weariness’.
Just a thought!!