What History Can Do

American HistoryIn a not so long ago version of my life I taught, among other things, high school history.  I fought the whole teaching thing for quite a while in my life.   My mom was a teacher; I knew all the downsides of the profession.   Eventually I changed my mind.

Teaching history was no whim.  I’m a history geek.  I love stories.  If they’re stories of things that actually happened, they’re infinitely better.

I grew up in a history loving family.  Many vacations included stops at historic sites.  We didn’t just stop—we stopped, we read EVERYTHING and listened to any park ranger or historical interpreter.  We learned.

I didn’t just learn about the place or the people connected to it.  Yes, I learned important and trivial facts, but I also learned perspective.  It was eye-opening to learn the American war in the late 1800’s and all it’s major battles had names that depended on the geographical origin of the speaker.  Growing up in NY it was called the Civil War.  The history teacher in my high school who grew up in the South called it the War Between the States.

History isn’t just a look at the past, it can be a predictor of the future.  When you know who hold the future,  history is comfort.

I have stressors in my life.  Some are big–money, thoughts of growing old alone,  health issues.  Some are smaller—saying the wrong thing, misplacing my keys, being late for an important meeting.  No matter what their size, it’s ugly and counterproductive when they try to move in and take over my mind.

When I realize worry wiggled its way into my thoughts, I act.  I see if there are changes I need to implement, and then I go to history.  I review the past with perspective.  I remind myself of God’s provision and intervention in my own story.

He provided the financial and prayer support I initially needed to serve in missions for a year within two and a half  months.  He multiplied that support to last for three years—with a $10,000 surplus.

He protected me and gave me peace in the middle of a civil war.

He sent eight friends from Africa to save me from being stranded in Alaska.

He provided money to cover hospital bills from surprising sources.

Friends call or write to check on me when I’m down because “I’ve been on their mind a lot lately.”  He concerns friends with me.

He brought me through multiple rounds of malaria.

He provided salvation for me.

And it’s not just me.  I’ve heard the histories of countless people.  God is significant in each story.  It’s not just people I’ve met.  There are others.  They stretch back through history.  Psalm 78 does a great job recounting the ways God broke through and took care of what people needed.

Once in a while I worry, but it usually doesn’t last long.  I know my history.  I know who holds all of time—past, present, and future—in his hands.

Worry says I can control the future.  Trust says I can’t, but I know who can.  I choose trust and the God who is utterly trustworthy.  Sometimes I need reminders, but it doesn’t take me long to abandon worry and embrace trust.

That’s what history can do for you.

photo courtesy of JoMama1152


(I’m participating in Faith Barista‘s Faith Jam.  Every week she’s asking other bloggers to “jam like musicians” on a faith related topic.  Today’s post is my riff on “Letting Go of Worry.”   If you’re interested in the notes others added to this Faith Jam, go check out her site and follow the links.)

Tags: , , , , , ,

11 Responses to “What History Can Do”