The Good Ol’ Days

Jason Thacker

We usually don’t realize that something is significant, history-making, or even culture shifting until it’s in the past. I am reminded of what the character Andy Bernard on The Office said as he reflected on a similar sentiment: “I wish there was a way to know you are in the good ol’ days before you have actually left them.” Bernard echoes so well what many of us experience throughout life as we look back with a nostalgic longing for what has passed us by. The truth is that we often overlook the good things in life as we are experiencing them because we are so focused on the next step, move, or season. In hindsight, everything seems clearer, and it becomes easier to draw the connections between our suffering and God’s redeeming presence.

While it doesn’t feel that way right now, I think that 2020 will be similar for most of us. This year has brought some of the toughest and most consequential events our world has experienced, all just in one 6-month period. From a worldwide pandemic and the reminder of gross racial injustices in our society to the coming general election in the United States and continued debates over the role of technology in our lives, 2020 is—without a doubt—one of the most significant years of our lives and one that we will reflect on for the rest of our days. This reflection will likely be one of deep reflection and a reminder of God’s sustaining presence in our families, churches, and communities.

I honestly could not be prouder of the team that helped assemble and produce this magazine issue. We quickly shifted our planned issue to one that focuses on these current times we are facing. Our prayer is that God will use this magazine to meet you where you are and serve you well in the midst of hard circumstances. This issue is focused on how ministry continues, even grows, in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and how Christians are called to love God and our neighbors, especially when things seem bleak. We highlight wise thinkers like Russell Moore, Scott James, Chelsea Patterson Sobilik, Jared Kennedy, and Eliza Huie, who help us get a perspective on these interesting and difficult times while reminding us of the hope we have in Christ.

We pray these resources will help Christians navigate this unforeseen and overwhelming season of ministry with a deeper reliance on Christ. While this year may not feel like the “good ol’ days” right now, God is moving among us and building his church. This time of suffering will inevitably lead to brighter times, not because the pain and suffering will disappear, but because it is through the fire that we are refined and made more like Christ—able to endure the pains and toils of this world as we long for the next. We may very well look back at these days with fond memories because of the way we saw God move among us and carry us through the trials of this life.

Jason Thacker
Editor, Light Magazine

Jason Thacker serves as director of research and chair of research in technology ethics at ERLC. He is the author or editor of several books, including his latest "Following Jesus in a Digital Age" and "The Digital Public Square: Christian Ethics in a Technological Society." He is a graduate of The University of Tennessee and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is currently pursuing a PhD in Christian ethics, philosophy, and public theology. He also serves as an associate fellow with the Kirby Laing Centre for Public Theology in Cambridge, an advisor for AI and Faith, and a research fellow with the ERLC Research Institute.