a vignette of antique items including a camera, clock, and typewriter

The Good Ol’ Days

Is there anything wrong with longing for the "good ol' days", simpler times? The Bible has something to say about nostalgia and discontentment with the present.

The instant I walked through the door of the antique store, I was transported back in time. Less like a store, more like a museum, it’s organization in themed sections, each one staged as a vignette hearkening to a scene from the days of old. 

A jukebox, a chrome-wrapped table, and funky soda pop light fixtures set the stage for a retro lunch of burgers and fries. A dimly lit corner displays floral-papered walls, ornate furnishings, and fancy collectibles to impress parlor guests. 

But it’s the plain, tiny kitchen that captured my attention. Brittle, faded posters with helpful tips for homemakers are plastered inside the doors of the storage cupboard. Fascinated by the descriptions of a woman’s life a century ago, intrigued by the demands of her daily duties, and jealous of the simplicity of her routines, I reluctantly left the store and re-entered the “real world”.

Nostalgia is harmless, right? Sometimes a brief walk down memory lane is the only feasible means of escape from the complexities of the present. 

But Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NLT) bluntly challenges our nonchalance on this matter. “Don’t long for ‘the good old days’. This is not wise.” The ESV is just as clear. “Say not, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For it is not from wisdom that you ask this.

Honestly, my flesh does not like this verse, and I’m tempted to justify my wistful longings for a bygone era. But God’s Word is my final authority, and if He says desiring “the good old days” is foolish, I must renew my mind accordingly. 

If, like me, you struggle with discontentment in the here and now, I’m glad to tell you that the Bible has encouragement for us. 

In 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, Paul reminds us that our entire earthly existence is a fleeting blip on our eternal timeline, and the best is yet to come! And Colossians 3:1-3 parallels the passage in Corinthians with the exhortation to fix our eyes on the glorious promise of eternity instead of what we see in the present.

The Bible also acknowledges the benefits of looking back at history. It teaches us wisdom. Taking time to remember what God has done and how He has shown Himself through the events of the past is a vital part of strengthening our faith (Joshua 4). 

The key is to guard our hearts against discontentment. Learn from the past, remember what God has done, then take the posture of Paul: “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

As we meander through the pages of our Bibles, let’s keep our eyes open for glimpses of the future God has planned for us. Meditate on His promises and what we have to look forward to—especially eternity with Jesus! 

After a mental reset by immersing myself in Scripture, my leaning toward the antique has shifted away from languishing discontentment in the present to eager anticipation of a glorious future!

Share this post

4 Responses

  1. I love this article, Jana! I often long for the ways of the past. Your encouragement to remember what God has done in the past and to look forward to our future with Him in glory is a wonderful mind (and heart) reset. Beautiful!

    1. Thanks for saying so, Lynn! Discontented nostalgia is a frequent temptation for me, so I wrote this post as much for myself as anyone else! I need this reminded often!

  2. Discontented and revisionist nostalgia got the Israelites in trouble from the day they left Egypt. It’s so easy to see their mistakes when we read Exodus, but sometimes hard to recognize when we have the same attitude. Thanks for the great reminder, Jana.

    1. That’s so true, Kathy! I often find myself sort of rolling my eyes at the Israelites when I read the Old Testament, and I think, “Seriously?!” But then I realize I’m no different. My sin is the same, it just looks different because I live in a different context. It’s humbling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Don’t miss new content and my monthly newsletter