I teach History. Many wonder why. I mean, after all the past is the past and we can’t do anything to change it. Plus, if we’re being completely honest here, most people find history dry and boring (thank you stodgy old professors).
I like knowing about the past because it matters to people. I find people to be absolutely fascinating and people care about things, even if it only pertains to them. What happened this morning matters to you. What happened ten years ago, or twenty years ago matters still to you (if you have even walked this Earth for twenty years yet). So, what mattered to people hundreds or thousands of years ago? Getting into the mindset of people is fascinating! Trying to figure out why society functions the way it does, or why certain stories are told in a specific way.
I also like studying history because I like being transported into a different time. I like knowing who else lived, and imagining what life might have been like for them. I often wonder why God chose me for this time and place when I feel I could have easily slid into the “Roaring 20s” or been in fit fighting age for the 40s and World War II to become a spy. Why now? Why the Pacific Northwest? Last summer I read a book by a friend of mine that addresses that very idea, realizing that God has a reason for creating us exactly when He chose. That we are handpicked, handmade for this time. While the book itself is geared towards young adults, I found it to hold valuable life lessons for me too. This passage was one of my favorites:
“Viewing the whole of my life (time, place, unique personality, gifts, and passions) as a deliberate choice by a loving God who wants to heal His world, has given me well-rounded perspective and thus, a personal focus. I have an identity, direction, and hope for the future.” (Out of All Eternity: Handmade and Handpicked for Right Now by Katie B. Crews)
I love that idea, the idea that I was handmade and handpicked for the here and now. That I was made “for such a time as this”, like Esther in the Bible. Not that I am comparing myself to Esther but I have always loved reading Esther 4 and the way Mordecai empowers Esther to make a giant leap of faith and speak out on behalf of the Jews in a time when it would mean a death sentence to do so.
“For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place and you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?” Esther 4:12-14
Esther was put in a position to speak on behalf of the Jews, to protect them and provide relief and deliverance. Esther was created, by God, specifically for that time. That same God created me for this time and place, each of my students for his/her time and place, and so on, and I am amazed and captivated by that idea. And so I study history, to get a glimpse into the lives of people who God created for each time and place.