History Lessons

Many people through the years continue to misquote Jorge Santayna.  He said in his book, Reason in Common Sense, “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” 

Before the written word, history throughout the ages had been passed down as oral history.  Job, the earliest book of the Bible, is largely used by God to teach us the value to trusting God in every circumstance.  Although it is now written, I suppose that there was a time when the Holy Spirit whispered to Job’s heart, “Someday you need to write this down so that others can benefit from your experiences.”  In addition to that, I suppose that the family members involved said the same thing.  Written history was born.

I ask myself: “Why do we not seem to learn from history?”  It is a quiet day in my house today so I have been doing some deep thinking.  I read Mark 4 this morning and saw something “new.”  Verses 35 to 41 give the account of a storm at sea.  The disciples were desperate to keep the ship afloat. Exhausted from the day of teaching, healing, and counseling, Jesus lay in the back of the ship fast asleep.

Mark does not tell us which of the disciples decided as the storm raged on that Jesus should be helping.  Standing over the sleeping form of Jesus the disciple called out, “Master, carest not that we perish?”  My vivid imagination hears the desperation in his voice; its tone is not one of gentleness or patience. In short, it was a tone of hopelessness anguish.

Jesus, of course, cared if they died.  Jesus spoke, and the wind stopped.  The waves stilled.  The disciples forgot something.  The most recent history they had experienced was seeing Jesus in a crowd of people casting out demons and healing people.  They dare accuse Jesus of not caring for them.  Our own lack of faith when we fear is the same.  Our own fear suggests that we do not learn from history.  The disciples had Jesus with them but they did not have a whole account of the Old Testament testimony of God’s power.  We do.

Do I have an excuse for worry and fear?  Do you?



  1. Linda Baughman

    I’ve heard it said that the only thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn from history. How easy it is to forget past blessings, provision, deliverances. How patient God is with his foolish children!

  2. I know that my voice too often is full of despair and anguish. This is a very apt and timely reminder to remember that God is always in control. The Cathedrals Quartet, before George and Glenn sang their way to heaven, used to sing “I’ve Read the Back of the Book, and We Win!” Glory!

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