One of the secrets of a happy life is the memory of past favor and good. Some people forget the pleasures and kindnesses that made yesterday glad; and today, when there are only unpleasant things, they are overwhelmed and cannot find one thing to make them happy. But if we remember how bright last night’s stars were, then tonight – when not a star can be seen – ought not to dismay us. If we would all keep in our hearts the happy memories of the beautiful things, the cheering things, and the happy things that come to us in our bright and pleasant days, we would never have a day of unrelieved gloom.
The weather is often the cause of a great deal of unhappiness. A cloudy or rainy day makes a great many people wretched. You go out on a dripping morning in a mood like the weather, and nearly everybody you meet will greet you with a complaint about the miserable day. The trouble with many people is that the gloom of the weather gets into their hearts and darkens their eyes and makes them unhappy. Often, whole days are entirely spoiled for them in this way.
Today may be gloomy, but remember what bright sunshine you had yesterday! There are few people who do not have many such memories in the story of their lives, if only they would recall them in the days when they are discouraged. And if they would recall them, their gloom would be lightened.
The Bible is full of exhortations to remember: “You shall remember all the way which Jehovah your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness.” “Remember the day when you came forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of your life.” “But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
The memory of past goodness should shine in the present darkness, however deep and dense it is. At one time, you were in great perplexity. You seemed hopelessly shut in. You could see nothing except danger and loss. Then, in a marvelous way, God led you out into a large place. In your present gloom and fear, whatever it is, remember this former deliverance! Yesterday’s mercy ought to be a guarantee for mercy today! Yesterday’s kindness should keep our hearts warm, in spite of today’s hardness.
“I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High.” Those were glorious years! They were full of sunshine. They were full of love. There were no troubles then. Everything was bright. The air was full of bird songs. The paths were strewn with flowers. All was prosperous. But now all is changed. The birds are not singing today. The flowers have faded. The friends are gone. Prosperity has given way to adversity.
But have you forgotten the past? Should not the memory of the goodness of other blessed days shine through the clouds of today, and touch them with glory?
Why are we so fickle in our faith and gladness? We are on the mountain-top one hour – and the next hour, we are away down in the dim valley. We have all the great and essential elements of happiness on a dark and rainy day that we had on the bright day a week ago. We have God, we have hope, and we have love. Why should we let a little drizzle, a gust of wind, and a flurry of sleet darken our mood and make all things seem hopeless for us? Why should one dreary day make us forget whole weeks of bright sunshine and fragrant air? Ought not the happy memories save us from such gloomy feelings?
If today is gloomy and cheerless, remember the past days that were glorious in their brightness. Let their splendor strike through today’s clouds! In the old Psalm, we read, “This is the day which Jehovah has made.” This is true of every day – not only of the sparkling days of June, so marvelous in their splendor; but just as truly of the somber days of November and the wintry days of January. The aspect of the dreary days is only a thin veil, behind which are always blue heavens and glorious sunshine. God made the days, and He made every one of them beautiful. If today is dark and misty, it has Divine beauty in it nevertheless. If things seen adverse, God is still God, still our Father, and still love; and nothing is really going wrong. “God’s in His heaven – all’s right with the world!”
Even Martin Luther – heroic as he was in his faith – sometimes lost confidence during the long and hard struggle of the Reformation. Once it is said that he seemed to have given up utterly, and was almost in despair. No one could revive his hope. In the morning, his wife came down to breakfast in deep mourning clothes. Luther noticed her garb; and in alarm, he asked, “What is wrong? Who is dead?” “Why, don’t you know?” she replied. “Didn’t you hear it? God is dead.” Luther rebuked her for her words in saying that God was dead, for He could not die. Then she told him that God must be dead, or else he would not have become so hopeless. Her reply brought back to the great Reformer the old trust.
We sometimes need to be reminded that God is not dead. He lives, and He always lives. He loves, and He always loves. The fluctuations in our experience are not fluctuations in the Divine interest and care. “I, Jehovah, change not,” is an Old Testament assurance. Then, in the New Testament, we have it thus: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!” This faith in the unchanging God should bridge over all the chasms of earthly trial, and always keep a joyous trust in our hearts.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this article! Feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions below.
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for our King’s glory,
photo by Dawid Zawiła | Unsplash.com
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on my website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.