Learning From History

When I was in high school, history was my favorite subject with English coming in at a close second. I loved history so much that I took an advanced placement class on 20th century American History independently my senior year. This meant that each day I had class with myself in the library. I loved every minute of it. 

Understanding history is important for us all. Paul wrote: “Now, all these things serve as types and pictures for us—lessons that teach us not to fail in the same way by callously craving worthless things and practicing idolatry, as some of them did. For it is written: The people settled in to their unrestrained revelry, with feasting and drinking, then they rose up and became wildly out of control” (1 Corinthians 10:6-7 TPT). Our history may not be butterflies and rainbows. Nonetheless, it is our history and we can learn so much from it. In understanding our history, we can ensure we do not repeat the bad things, we can celebrate and be grateful for the good things, and we can keep moving forward.

Today, we live in an age where people get offended by everything. I’m sure someone will be offended even by this devotion. A statue offends. Rather than adding some historical context to it and maybe adding some complementary statues with it, to help people get a history lesson and understand the role this person had, people tear down the statue. This person owned slaves. This person fought for the Confederates. This person… The list goes on and on. It is a dangerous move we make when we try to whitewash our history. We do not just hide away and attempt to erase slavery, the war, etc. When we whitewash our history, we lose the lesson we learned. We lose the story of how we overcame the bad and evil of the past. We lose the journey from start to finish. We lose the reminder completely. Then our children do not remember warning signs because they were erased, and then history repeats itself.

This is our danger today and always. In the Bible, we read of times things were set in place to remind the people of how God moved in an awesome and mighty way. We also read about the Israelites remembering parts of past history that wasn’t so celebratory. It is all important. It all matters because it has made us who we are today. The goal should always be to move forward. Still, we should have a record of our journey to help us navigate the road ahead. A lot of bad things happened to me in my past. To take away the abuse, to remove the struggles — to do these things would change who I am. The bad has been used for good. Always. God promises that to us. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (NIV). I wouldn’t be the tough cookie I am today without the days before me. Let us keep teaching our history in its entirety and find a way to best navigate forward. Above all, let us keep our eyes fixed on Him who was and is and is to come.

Thank you Jesus for being with us through it all. You promise Lord to never leave or forsake us. Lord, as we look at our past, help us to learn and grow. May we proclaim Your victory over each situation. Show us to path to take — the narrow one that many do not travel. We want to keep moving forward. We desire to follow You with every breath we take. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!

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