A few months ago, my boys and I took a step back in time. Canvas tents, horse-drawn wagons, and oil lanterns lighting the path to the fire rings of camps. The clang of stakes driving into the ground as wall tents went up, the sweep of billowing hoop skirts and dainty bonnets, the tell-tale smoke from a campfire dinner as folks gather around once again to catch up with one another.
In the morning, the Reveille sounded for the roll call of the troops to honor soldiers past and present. I would wake up to the heady smell of camp coffee, so generously prepared by our “camp-mother” and first light brought in a field of unit flags and cannons. In a few hours, this idyllic scene transformed into a sea of blues and grays. The thunder of the cannons shook the ground and the hearts of the mothers watching their little one take part in battles of long ago. Only the spectators, with their cameras and phones, were a dead giveaway that this is a reenactment and not the real “real thing”.
When I first joined my reenacting unit, I was told this was a family-oriented team and I was welcome to immerse myself as little or as much as I wanted. I often wonder how convenient it would be to be able to go back in time and pull only what we want out of history.
However, even in civil war reenacting, we cannot just single out the events we want. How can we have a battle if there are only victors? How can we appreciate the joy of victory without the pain of loss? Our country’s map, our forefather’s legacy, and our nation in today would not be the same. God didn’t give us the keys to go back in time to correct our mistakes. Instead, He said, “My grace is sufficient for thee.”
Second Kings 22 tells us when the Book of Law was found and brought to the king. The people of that time, through the years, carelessly mislaid and neglected this book. They thought their summaries and extractions out of the bible would be sufficient to lead a righteous life. However, memories and recollections of events are corruptible, and the end picture doesn’t represent a true accounting of events and intentions. The same happens if we choose to be selective on what part of history we recount while brushing aside other parts as offensive and degrading. How can future generations learn from past events and characters if they are erased from history because they are deemed not worthy to be remembered? In Genesis 12, Abram built altars to the Lord as a testimony to what God did in his life. We can build spiritual altars to what God has done in ours. In the peaks, we can remember how God has brought us through the difficult times, and in the valleys, we can remember God’s promise of not letting us walk through them alone. On the same token, if we don’t build reminders of the villains of our time, how then can we be reminded of how humanity can take a wrong turn and how much we need of a Savior. We are dooming our children to repeat a lesson not learned through history.
On this side of heaven, we are bound to time. We have a past, present, and a future. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says: “And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him, a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” We see that keeping a solid perspective on the past and a healthy focus on the present will lead us into a strong foothold into the future. While we may not always grasp God’s planning or understand the evil that is done in this world, we know that He who has begun a good work in our lives will bring it to completion. The Master Weaver will take our life stories and thread them into a beautiful picture, a picture that will only be revealed when we get to the other side of heaven.