When I was in middle school, I dreamed of becoming a historian. I was excited just to learn that such a profession existed. While my life took different roads, I am able to write about history today, sharing with others through stories of what happened long ago but should not be forgotten. I am mostly drawn to the everyday stories, and the people who lived quiet lives in cities, on farms, or on the prairies of long ago.
I’ve also thought about what kind of history teacher I would have been. I hope I would have awakened interest in my students to study their own family’s history as they learned about the history-makers in the pages of the school books. The heroes with monuments to their lives, the mansion-builders and railroad barons, the presidents and brave soldiers who made America great and earned a place for their names in our history books.
One thing our class would have done each year was taken a field trip. Not to a museum, or a historic home, but out to the quiet fields and hidden woods that surround the borders of modern life. We would find the old cemeteries there, the forgotten places of rest for the everyday husbands, wives, and children with no one to remember them. But worth remembering. Selecting a name, each student would get their assignment–write a story of that person’s life. Using their imaginations, with the help of available research, they would come away knowing a little bit more about life before theirs began.
Having a desire to learn our history, to remember who and what came before us, is a desire and interest put in our hearts by God. He, too, is a historian. Only His history lessons do not leave us wondering what the end of things will be. He tells us that too:
Remember your history, your long and rich history. I am God, the only God you’ve had or ever will have—incomparable, irreplaceable—From the very beginning telling you what the ending will be, all along letting you in on what is going to happen, Isaiah 46: 8-10
The bible is filled with stories of the histories of the men and women who came before us. It gives us the plan of salvation, introducing Christ through the Old Testament and following His life and death through the New Testament. It chronicles the lives of the men and women whose names and doings found their way into the most holy book, and it shows us through these events how we should live. Studying the histories of others is not of interest to everyone, but the history written down for us in the Word of God should be the exception for all, because it is the history of us all.