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Job and the “good old days”

Job was reminiscing the good old days. He looked back to the years of his prosperity and health he once enjoyed. To Job the period of his prosperity seems long, long ago. He wished he could turn back the clock and return to the past. Those were the days he said when God preserved him, watched over him and blessed him (v.2).

He remembered the days when his children were running around him (v.5). He recalled the days when he was well respected by the community and they waited for his counsel (v.7-11, 21). He recalled his good works and how he had helped the poor and the needy (v.8-16). Oh, those were the good old days in which he felt he had lived like a king (v.25). But those good old days were gone from him forever; at least, as we know it, for the time being.

One thing admirable about Job is that he never forgets that all good things come from God: “as in the days when God preserved me” (v.2b). Job referred his prosperity to God and was grateful to Him for it. Right now as he was wallowing in his misery, he still gave his praises to God for the good old days.

It’s a lesson for all of us: It is right and good to appreciate the divine blessings of the happy past. Job acknowledged that God had preserved him in past days. He was appreciative of God’s past blessings. His present condition did not affect his mind and cause him to forget all that God had done for him.

But not everyone is like Job. God has not been sufficiently appreciated by many. His blessings have not been acknowledged with merited gratitude. When felt deserted by God, the troubled man blasted that God does not love him; not now and never before. How ungrateful!

If you live in Singapore, you live in one of the most abundantly blessed lands in the world. This country enjoys plentiful food, housing, electricity, running water, wealth, air conditioning, world class transportation, first world sanitation, security, safety, and many other blessings. However, this land is also filled with chronic grumblers and complainers. Although there are countless blessings, there seem to always be countless things to gripe about—be it traffic, the economy, food prices, car and housing prices, desire for additional material possessions, ill health, etc. What is the problem? Ingratitude!

Children, have you ever complained that your parents do not love you? Why? Because they didn’t give you certain things you wanted then. But have you forgotten the past so many years they loved and adored you and still do? If they don’t love you, you will be in an orphanage home and not in this comfortable home with your own bedroom.

It has been said that ingratitude is the most common sin. The Israelites were not thankful that God had delivered them out of the Egyptian but kept complaining and disbelieving in the wilderness. Job’s wife had forgotten the good old days how God had prospered her family but told her husband to curse God and die (Job 2:9).

Gratitude is such a rare virtue that the scriptures have to keep reminding us to be thankful. Paul has to instruct the churches to be thankful: “And be thankful” (Colossians 3:5); “In everything give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Today may not be the best day in your life; give thanks anyway for it could have been worse. Moreover, in spite of it not being a good day, there are still so many good things to be thankful for. You are still alive and can see your children and loved ones; your children and loved ones are healthy and have food, shelter, jobs and are happy; your husband/wife loves you and is taking good care of you; you have wonderful friends who care about you; you have enjoyed the good old days; and you still feel love and being loved. Thank God for His blessings! Don’t let a tiny black spot on a beautiful picture hinders you from admiring the great piece of art; focus on the picture and enjoy it, and not the black spot.

Let us ever be grateful in whatever state we are in. When it is sunny for too long, we hope for the rain. But when the rain keeps pouring, we wish for the sun again. Sometimes too much of good things make us forget about God and so God sends the rain (pain) to remind us of His existence. Be thankful for the rain!

Jimmy Lau
Psa 119:97 Oh how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day.