Bob Tamasy: Our History Is His Story In Us
Monday, October 18, 2021 - by Bob Tamasy
There’s a lot of talk about history these days. Some people want to rewrite it, while others seem intent on erasing it entirely. But there’s intrinsic value to history, the record of humankind’s rights and wrongs, achievements and failings. As has often been observed, “Those who forget history are bound to repeat it.” A corollary to that is by studying the lives and actions of those who have benefited society, we find examples to follow and emulate.
We each have a personal history, the chronicle of experiences from our earliest waking moments up to one minute ago. Some aspects of our history we’re glad to recall and even share; others we would prefer to forget. Sometimes we find it necessary to repress them.
But have you ever considered that our history is also part of God’s history? That our history, in a sense, is a record of His story in us?
Looking back over the course of my life – using the keen vision of hindsight – I marvel at how the Lord was busily involved in so many aspects of my life.
Even at times when I was completely oblivious to His divine direction and intervention.
If things had gone as I envisioned, my career never would have unfolded as it did. The things God has enabled me to accomplish have far exceeded even my most optimistic ambitions. My family life certainly would not have been at all as I expected, and yet as the Lord directed – and redirected – my marriage, children and grandchildren have proved to be “immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).
The places He has taken me to, and all that I have experienced in life, have far exceeded my greatest hopes and expectations.
As for my spiritual life, I marvel at how God intervened and interrupted in so many ways, rerouting me when I got off course and taking me to people and places that He would use to teach me; rebuke me when needed; correct me when I was in error or confused, and train me so I could understand how He wanted me to live, as 2 Timothy 3:16 describes so well.
How about you? What has been God’s story in your life, His story intertwined with your history?
During my journey with Jesus Christ, in my early 30s when I realized He wanted to have a growing, everyday relationship with me, I learned about the value and importance of a personal testimony. This is a recounting of how the Lord has worked in one’s life – and through it – to accomplish His purposes. It starts with life before Christ, before coming to an understanding of the essential truths God reveals through His Word.
Basically, a description of my life prior to Jesus entering it amounts to my insistence on functioning as my own god. It was my life, and I was going to live it as I saw fit. At the time I thought I was doing a pretty good job, but in retrospect I can’t help but wonder, “What was I thinking?!”
The second part of the testimony is a remembrance of circumstances that resulted in truly coming to know Jesus Christ, not just in an intellectual sense, but in a manner that penetrates the heart in a life-altering way. For some, this involves considerable drama, perhaps akin to the apostle Paul’s encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. Still going by the name of Saul at the time, intent on persecuting, imprisoning and even killing the “Christ ones” he found so infuriating, he encountered Jesus and in an instant, the self-righteous Pharisee was transformed.
Others, however – and I would be among them – arrived at the point of salvation and justification before God in a more gradual sense. We can’t pinpoint a day or hour when it happened, but we know without a doubt that it did.
I can’t recall a time when I didn’t believe in God and Jesus in a factual way, but for many years I definitely did not know the Lord personally. Borrowing the line attributed to Mary Magdalene in “The Chosen” video series, “I was one way and now I am completely different – and the thing that happened in between was Him.”
The last part of the testimony, His story in our history, is what has taken place after coming to know Jesus. This last portion is ever-changing, growing and developing. The Bible calls it “sanctification.” It differs from justification, which is a “once and for all time” transaction – “The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Romans 6:10-11).
Instead, the Bible describes our new life in Christ as process that continues for the remainder of our earthly lives. This is why Paul, despite the moment when he literally “saw the light” as he went toward Damascus, would write toward the end of his life, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me…. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14).
In a testimony, our lives before Christ and the events that led us to Him remain essentially the same, but just as history has been unfolding for thousands of years, God’s story in ours also continues to unfold until we draw our last breath. And for many of us, the best is yet to come!
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Robert J. Tamasy is a veteran journalist, former newspaper editor and magazine editor. Bob has written, co-authored and edited more than 15 books. These include the newly published, ”Marketplace Ambassadors”; “Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace”; “Tufting Legacies,” “The Heart of Mentoring,” and “Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart.” A weekly business meditation he edits, “Monday Manna,” is translated into more than 20 languages and sent via email around the world by CBMC International. The address for his blog is www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.