Read Job 29
Focus on verse 2
With the possible exception of those who find themselves in dysfunctional relationships, the human mind has a tendency to remember positive memories and suppress negative ones. It is for this reason that we often find ourselves reminiscing of the “good ol’ days”. What we fail to remember is that those good old days also had some hardships that we no longer have to deal with. For example, I occasionally think fondly of the smell and warmth of a coal-burning furnace that heated my childhood home, but forget that on some cold winter mornings I woke up to find my blankets frozen to the wall.
While there are values and aspects of the past that I genuinely miss, when I really think it through, I would be hesitant to give up what the present has blessed me with in exchange for what I miss about the past. Even as I think about the challenges that the present brings, it seems that while they may be different than the challenges of the past, they are no more or less difficult to navigate.
In this chapter, Job reminisces of the days before he lost everything, expressing a longing to relive those days. What he does not yet know is that by God’s grace he will in the days ahead see times of blessing even greater than what he had in the past.
What we often forget as we journey through life is that it is the difficulties and challenges that we face in life which prepare us for the blessings that follow. If I had not experienced the challenges and failures that are part of my history, I would not have the wisdom and experience that I currently possess to face what lies ahead. There are experiences I have been through that I would never willingly choose to experience a second time, but I also would not trade those times for easier times (if that were possible) because of what the Lord has taught me about himself and myself through the mistakes I made and the hardships I experienced.
It is the blowing and the bending of the wind that makes the oak tree strong. A tree that grows to maturity without ever experiencing wind would likely fall over in the first little breeze to come along. On the other hand the tree that grows up being buffeted and tossed about with regularity develops the root system and the strength in its trunk and limbs to withstand severe storms.
Job was in the midst of a storm when he longed for the good old days of peace and safety. I suspect that at the end of his life he would have expressed gratitude even for the hardship of what he endured, not because he enjoyed the process, but because of what it revealed to Him about the nature and character of God.