I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like me, and I know I wouldn’t like myself. “How can I know this?” Well, I’m a history buff, and my love of things ancient stirred my curiosity to explore my own history… “pre-me.” I hoped to find noble, compassionate, wise, and gentile habits. After all, I’m a “Virginian,” the state that produced 4 of our first 5 presidents and was settled by Europeans in 1607. Since my family arrived in the first quarter of the 17th century, shouldn’t I find something worthy of a page in history? I did. Perhaps that’s why famous Virginian Thomas Jefferson said, “I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.”
As I explored my heritage, I discovered some shining moments, but mostly sin. Instead of a story destined for greatness, I confirmed what the Bible said all along, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” Isaiah 64:6. Translation: Instead of enduring heirlooms, my inheritance as a human being was just filthy rags. The generations before me walked a sinful path, with few turning to God. Since history repeats itself, I was clearly destined to follow in their footsteps. The further back I went, the more certain I was I’m cut out of sinful cloth.
My own story took a turn when my parents’ marriage skidded dangerously close to the edge and my mom went to church as a last resort. A woman in a stairway noticed she “needed a friend” and said so. Doing more than smile, though, she took my mom to where she could hear the truth, to where God’s Word could change us one at a time. Until then, we repeated patterns of generations of empty people who defaulted to anger, abuse and addictions. I was on track to fit into THAT family album, and as a history lover, I KNOW I would’ve become just like my lost ancestors. But God changed our story (MY story) as we heard the gospel. Our home was transformed by His truth. I’m so glad that “where sin increased, grace increased all the more,” Romans 5:20.
His grace changed generations of ugliness and rerouted my future. At five, I knew I wanted Jesus’ gift of life for me. Before I even understood my future was guaranteed to be bleak, God set me on a new course and spared me much of the pain I read in my history. My heavenly Father offered me a future as His daughter, with a heavenly inheritance, so Thomas Jefferson was right! I really do like the way the future looks “post-grace” rather than the past history without God.
If you accepted Christ as a child and ever wonder “how bad it could’ve been,” just check out your family history.
I’m still a history buff. It’s evidence of who I’d be without Christ Jesus, and it’s evidence His sacrifice can change lives. The more I learn about the past, the more I know sin has always increased, but God’s grace increases all the more! What’s your history?