The song Sentimental Journey was performed by Vikki Carr in 1961 (when I was just 3 years old). As I grew older, I remember this being one of the first songs that I ever heard. It turned into a big hit for Doris Day four years later in 1965 …
What was the appeal of the song “Sentimental Journey”? I think one area of appeal was the lyrics, describing an older person looking back on their life and remembering “the good old days”. It is very common for those of us who are older to look back and remember our younger days.
Two of the most famous of all Bible characters, Job and David, began looking back to their younger lives when they both were facing very difficult circumstances. Was this a good thing for them to do? Is it a good thing for us to do in today’s time? Let’s see what the Word of God teaches us concerning remembering our past.
Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me; … But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock. Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished? For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste….
And David said to Saul, Let no man’s heart fail because of him; thy servant will go and fight with this Philistine. And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father’s sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee. (1Sa 17:32-37)
In our two Scripture references we find two men reminiscing over their life’s experiences:
In the case of Job, this “looking back” led to greater depression and misery. As Job looked back at the “good old days” when God’s blessings were upon him (chapter 29), he did not use his past experiences to give him faith and strength to continue on. Just the opposite was true. He used these thoughts of the past to remind him how miserable he was in the current time (chapter 30:). This led to a greater depression and lack of faith in his Lord. In Job’s case, based on how he used his memories, looking back at his past blessings was not glorifying to his Lord.
Paul also knew of the danger of depression and anxiety when we reminisce, and he wrote in Phils 3:13-15:
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Paul knew that recalling past sins, or lost blessings, can lead to depression and anxiety as we seek to serve the Lord now.
In the case of David, his “looking back” resulted in him being encouraged to take a greater step of faith in his service. Note what he did… David was blessed with the opportunity to glorify his God by facing the giant Goliath. But how could he ever win such a match? Well, by looking back and remembering how the Lord had given him past victories over a lion and a bear, David realized the Lord could give him the victory over the giant Goliath as well.
This is why Moses instructed the Israelites to always remember the great deliverance the Lord gave to them when he brought them out of Egypt and delivered them to the Promised Land:
“Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten. “(Exo 13:3)
Many times, when we remember the Lord’s past blessings, they can encourage and strengthen our faith as we face difficulties now. One of my most used expressions is this… “If the Lord was able to do all that for me in the past; surely, He can deliver me from the troubles I face today.”
THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION
For the Christian….
So to answer our previous question, “When facing difficult circumstances in our life is it a good thing to look back at our younger days?” The answer is …. It can be a good thing, if it is done properly!
If we can look back with a heart of faith, remembering His blessings and using them to encourage us in our current situation… the Lord is greatly pleased.
If however, we are looking back in our flesh, using our remembrances as a hindrance to our future service… it will not help, it can even harm us.
For those who have never trusted in Christ…
Today is the day to begin your life’s walk with the Lord. By trusting in Him and His work on the cross, you will be gaining a loving Heavenly Father who will be there to aid you in every situation of life you come to face. Until you place your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, there is no reason to believe that you will be blessed or that you are securely in His care. It is only when we humbly turn to Him in faith, trusting Him with our life that we can know that He is with us. (Roms 8:12-18)
For you looking back at your life, will only reflect a life that is filled with missed opportunities to serve the Lord.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (1Pe 5:6-7)