How Job longed for the good ol’ days. The days of prosperity. The days of health. The days when family surrounded him. The days when widely held respect went before him. The days, Job says, “when God watched over me” (29:2). Then, he was in his prime. God’s friendship was beyond dispute. In fact, Job says, those days were so good . . .
” . . . my steps were washed with butter, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!” (Job 29:6 ESV)
How he pined for those bygone days when everything was going his way (MSG). Days when the blessings just flowed. When his path was coated with the finest and thickest cream (NIV). When even the rocks around him were prone to pouring out rivers of oil.
Who wouldn’t, in their suffering, long for such days?
If we can’t yet relate to Job in this, we will one day. A time of trouble becoming a catalyst for longing again for days of ease. Pain, hardship, and anguish causing us to sing songs of yesterday when troubles seemed so far away (thanx Beatles). To wish we were back in Kansas (and you too, Dorothy).
But then I turned to my reading from John. The John who wrote from the island of Patmos. My “brother and partner in the tribulation” in exile “on account of the word of God” (Rev. 1:9). Better days behind him as well. Maybe not butter days, like Job, but you gotta think better than what he was experiencing on Patmos. And, while Job looked back, God in His grace gave John a glimpse of what was yet to come. And it was better than butter.
After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here” . . . and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with One seated on the throne. And He who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. . . . From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, . . . and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures . . . and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
(Revelation 4:1-8 ESV)
Our best days on earth can’t compare to what it will be like when we see what John saw. We know our worst days on earth will be worth it all when we’re reminded of what awaits those who love Him on that day we transcend earth. That day when we behold the throne. That day when we’re in the presence of God. Our holy, holy, holy God. It’s gonna be better than butter.
The senses will be overloaded with sights and sounds we’ve never seen nor heard. And our attention will be drawn to the One who sits on the throne, and our focus to the Lamb in the midst. And we’ll know, like we’ve never known, that this is truly life and life to the full.
And we’ll sing the song of the redeemed. And we’ll worship the One who sent the Redeemer. And we will behold Him, the One who gave Himself to rescue our souls. The One who, through His Spirit, tethers our souls to His.
The One who was . . . there in the good times. The One who is . . . an ever present help in time of need in the tough times. The One who is to come . . . taking us, on that day, to be with Himself.
Better than butter.
Father, strengthen me in the present. Keep me from being consumed with the good ol’ days of the past. Set my heart, mind, and eye on things yet to come . . . and that, perhaps today!
By your grace. For your glory.