Probably most followers of Jesus have had a similar experience to the one I had this morning, as I sat drinking my early morning coffee, reading my bible. I do that every morning. And often, as I read, a verse or a truth that I have read many times before causes me to pause, stop, reflect on what I’ve read in a new or different way. This morning as I read, I began to think of ‘old’ in a new and different way.
The psalmist, in psalm 44, verse one, wrote: “We have heard with our own ears, O God; Our fathers have told us what deeds You did in their days, in the days of old.” (Ps. 44:1, NKJV) That phrase, “in their days, in the days of old” caught my eye, caused me to pause and reflect on my life. When were my ‘days of old,’ I wonder? And what were they like? How would I describe my days of old?
Some days, I don’t wonder about how I would describe ‘the days of old,’ of course. I don’t have to wonder.
Today, for example. Today is a “day of old” for me. My hip is inflamed, and exceedingly painful when I walk. My doctor says it’s ‘muscular degeneration’ that happens sometimes, with age. That’s a kind way of saying the ‘days of old’ have arrived. My hands cramp, too. Sometimes just thinking about holding a pen or a pencil will cause my hand to decide it wants to cause me pain. If I’m not living in the days of old … I wouldn’t know how to describe them.
But then, my kind of ‘days of old’ aren’t the same as what the psalmist was talking about, when he mentioned ‘the days of old.’ He mentioned listening. He’s heard something he wants to draw attention to. He hasn’t been listening to elderly ‘fathers’ talking about their aches and pains, in the midst of their days of old. Instead, the stories he’s heard with his own ears are about the deeds God did in the lives of his children … in the days old, and the history of God’s provision for his people.
If I could, for a moment, get my mind off of my aching body, the ‘muscular degeneration’ that happens with age? If I could stop thinking, even for a moment, about the complaints that so easily fall out of my mouth when my fingers start cramping? If I refuse to let myself talk about the pain I tolerate when I walk, and instead let my focus change from the ‘days of old’ I’m experiencing, to the ‘days of old’ I’ve already been through? Well, then I’d have time to share with anyone who cares to listen about how faithful my God has been, the journey he has led me through, the battles he has won for me by his good and gracious hand in my own ‘days of old.’
Ps. 135:13 says that the name of the Lord endures forever, and his fame is known “… throughout all generations.” I think that’s another way of saying that the days of old’ are part of the story God had in mind when he thought of me. I just want to be careful when I tell that story that I’m talking about the right ‘days of old.’