I have always loved history. I was a history major in college. I know you may not share my love for history. I pray this blog will cover why history gives hope and how we can use it as a tool for change in our own lives!
History is not boring.
There was a time in my life when I thought that studying history was simply memorization. I was wrong. History is story, and the Bible is full of stories. The Bible tells us that God has worked through history—and He promises to work through us today, just as He did with people in generations past.
Below are three reasons history gives us hope for the future.
1. History gives perspective.
The first reason history gives hope is because it gives perspective. Maybe you’re feeling down right now, but you know what? Many people came before us, and many people will come after us—and we’re not that big of a deal. Stop taking yourself so seriously!
History also reminds us that change is possible. The world has been through many struggles and challenges, but it has also seen great progress and advancement in the areas of human rights, equality, and freedom. So if you think things are bad now, just wait: they’ll get better eventually!
2. History gives gratitude.
Another reason history gives hope is that it shows us God is faithful. He has been faithful in the past, and He will be faithful in the future. The Bible records many examples of this. For example, God worked through Moses to set Israel free from slavery in Egypt (Exodus 3-15). In spite of incredible odds against them, they were able to leave Egypt because of God’s grace and power working through them.
God also showed His faithfulness when He saved Israel from their enemies during Joshua’s leadership (Joshua 1-21). Despite being outnumbered by opponents who were much more powerful than they were, they won by God’s grace and power working through them!
3. History gives perseverance.
History teaches us about perseverance because it shows us how people endured difficult situations without giving up hope for better things ahead. We can be confident that our problems are temporary when we rely on God for help!
The Bible teaches us that running your race and persevering to the end is required for salvation (1 Corinthians 9:24-27). This means not just enduring, but doing so with a good attitude and a sense of determination. It’s easy to give up when things get hard, but God expects us to keep going even when we’re weary or discouraged—and history shows us how important this is.
Run your short race with grit and determination. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. Encourage those running with you to not give up! Encouragement breeds courage!
God has worked through history. God will work through us.
History is not just a list of dates and places. It is the story of how God has worked through people to bring about good and stop evil. History gives us hope because we learn how God used leaders like the apostle Paul, Martin Luther, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer to show us what historically heroic leadership looks like. Knowing this should breed humility in all Christians who want to be faithful followers of Christ—we know our limits, but God’s power is infinite!
Challenge: Learn and share the historical story of your family, congregation, and church body. Stories change the human heart.
Learn and share the historical story of your family. Ask a matriarch or patriarch of your family to share their family story. Take notes. Document what you discovered. Share it with your wider family.
Learn and share your church’s story. Sit down with long-time, or maybe even founding, members of your congregation. Ask what has happened over the years and decades. This history will bless older and newer members alike.
Learn and share where your church body came from. I am a proud member of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod (LCMS). I love sharing stories from two of my favorite history books: Moving Frontiers by Carl S. Meyer and Gospel DNA by Mike Newman. Check them out, and share your learnings with others!
History is not boring. It’s exciting, and inspiring and gives us the hope that God will work through us today!