"In olden times it was different." Do you know the feeling? It seems like things just get worse and worse; surely things were better before.
The author of the above quote certainly thought so… back in 1884, when those words were published in The Medical Record. Almost 130 years ago, someone was convinced that "modern business" couldn't compare to the way things had been.
"In olden times it was different." The fact is, people have always let nostalgia shape their views of the past. Over two thousand years ago, the author of the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible wrote, "Do not say, 'Why were the old days better than these?' For it is not wise to ask such questions" (Ecclesiastes 7:10).
Rather than glorify the past or even vilify the past, we should learn from it. The apostle Paul wrote, "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4). We should look at what went on in the past and let history teach us. We should try to live better lives because of things we learned from the past.
Rather than saying "In olden times it was different," why not say "In times to come, it will be different"? As Paul said, thinking about the past should fill us with hope. Hope based not just on what we will do in the future, but hope based on what God will do in the future.
I can assure you, the future will be very different. The last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, tells us of that time: "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away" (Revelation 21:3-4). That future will be very different indeed.