This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’” Jeremiah 6:16
How a person responds to calamity or disaster tells an awful lot about what's inside! When things are not going well, there is a tendency for the old to become cynical and critical, and castigate those who are younger. You know the mentality--"The older I am, the better I was!" Having had years of experience, it is very easy for them to see immediately what's wrong with the world, especially people in the world, and be very clear in letting folks know that things aren't like they used to be, and that if they were still in control, it wouldn't be that way.
It's not only the CEO or executive who gets nudged from the corporate board room--the golden parachute cord getting tangled up with everything but their vocal cords, but also the pastor who doesn't like the way the new man is handling things, the school superintendent who is retired, the middle level manager who is pushed aside with downsizing, and the housemaid who is sent back to the province when money gets tight.
It is so much easier to see the faults of the other person, especially if he or she is younger, has less education, or might just have a different slant on things, even if we secretly are irritated that we didn't think of it first.
When you find yourself getting cynical and you really don't want to be like that, go back and read the Old Testament book of Jeremiah. He wrote two books, the one that bears his name and the book of Lamentations. Things were coming apart at the seams during his lifetime. God told him to prophesy against his own nation, denouncing them for turning their backs on God, informing them that they were going to Babylon in chains.
Literature critics call his writings "Jeremiads," yet old Jeremiah was anything but a bitter, cynical old man. He wrote, "The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD" (Jeremiah 3:25,26).
He also wrote, "Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him’" (Lamentations 3:22-24).
When you feel yourself slipping into the despair of "things aren't as good as they used to be," remind yourself that God is unchanging, and that His purposes are going to be accomplished whether or not you or I are there to be part of the team He uses.
As did Jeremiah, please remind yourself that God, not you, will be the one who metes out punishment for wrongdoing. Jeremiah saw everything that was wrong. He said, "From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. They dress the wounds of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush" (Jeremiah 6:13-15).
Then--and this is the most important thing of all--get your eyes on the Lord, not on what you dislike. Has He ever failed you? Has He ever failed to keep His Word? Has He ever ignored your earnest cry? "No," you say. "Of course not!" And when you understand this, along with Jeremiah your heart will cry, "Great is thy faithfulness!"
May God preserve us from the wisdom of ourselves, and the certainty that we are indispensable, and the failure to realize that life will go on with or without us until God's purpose has been established in our world and in our lives. "Yes, God; help us to see life from your perspective!"
Resource reading: Lamentations 3.