Nothing Gold Can Stay


Written by Gilbert Ackerman

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

~ Robert Frost, 1923

I really like poetry. Although, I’m sure you could’ve guess that based off of how I started this blog post. I find that certain poems can capture feelings so acutely that it strikes like an arrow to the heart.

This poem is one of my personal favorites. It captures the nostalgic tension of ‘what was’ in relation to ‘what is now’ in such a beautiful, melancholy way.

I can think of several times where my life has felt like this poem. I encounter a new situation, and it feels like gold; new state, new school, new job, new relationship, only to have it eventually become a very ordinary or even problematic situation. A great thing becomes stale. Old state, boring school, difficult job, dull relationship.

This ebb and flow of gold to gray is typical for our lives, but if I’m honest with you, this can very discouraging to me. I can easily find myself in an emotional quagmire wishing for they way things use to be. I’m not a betting man, but I’d be willing to wager that you find yourself caught in a depressed, wistful state about your past as well.

I wish I was healthy again

I wish I could go back to my old job

I wish I felt the way about my spouse that I did when we were dating

I wish my parents were still alive

I wish my kids hadn’t moved away

And at the end of the day, we’re left feeling depressed and discouraged. We’re left asking this:

Will things ever be as good as they use to be?

Dozens of centuries ago God’s chosen people the Israelites were in a similar spot. At this point in time Israel had been taken captive by their enemies because of their parents and grandparents mistakes, and were feeling similarly to the way we feel.

I wish we had our homes

I wish we were still free

I wish we had our Temple

Isaiah was a prophet that lived in the middle of this himself. He woke up every day trapped in captivity for sins he did not commit just like everyone else. During that reality God revealed his heart to the people of Israel in Isaiah 43:19;

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

Maybe things aren’t the way they use to be. That’s ok. Change is a part of life that we can’t stop. However, even as I type these words, God is already orchestrating a better future for you.

Let me say that again in case you missed it.

God is already orchestrating a better future for you.

I know life may not be the way it use to be. It certainly wasn’t for the Israelites. You may be sick, you may have problems in your marriage, problems with identity, problems with school, problems with fitting in, problems at your job. Life may not be as simple as it use to be, but here’s the good news:

God is already orchestrating a better future for you.

God says that regardless of your past and regardless of your mistakes that your greatest days are ahead of you. There is more ahead of you than there is behind. God’s destiny is that you would succeed and excel in life, and even if you don’t feel like it’s true – it is.

God’s promise wasn’t just for the Israelites, it’s for us as well. It’s for you. It’s for now. Your tomorrow is brighter than your yesterday.

Even if you’re seventy four years old.

Even if you’ve had multiple abortions that you regret.

Even if your college experience was full of partying and one night stands.

Even if your adult children are into drugs.

Even if you were fired from your last job.

Even if your marriage feels like it’s falling apart.

Even if you’re not sure that you believe in any God, let alone Jesus as God.

Your future is bright. God cares about you more than realize, and is more dedicated to your future than even you are. Through God’s power, your future will be far greater than you can presently imagine.

So the next time you start believing the internal voice that says, “Things will never be as good as they use to be” – fight against it. Don’t let those lies dominate your thought life. Fill your life with Bible verses that speak about God’s promises; Isaiah 41:14 and Philippians 1:6 are two of my favorites. Share your struggles with a friend or pastor so that they can pray with you. Invest more time dreaming about your future than dwelling on your past.

If you do that, I promise you this:

God’s future for you will always be gold.

Gblog-photoilbert Ackerman works in the kids ministry department at the Deer Lakes Campus of Allison Park Church. When he’s not working, he enjoys researching personality assessments, reading fantasy books, and playing video games