by Alicia A. Willis
I don’t consider it at all coincidental that Sarah asked me to do a post on the importance of history almost exactly during the time I was writing on the very same subject in Remembering the Alamo. God has such a way of working such things out.
So why do I consider history so important? Why the emphasis on careful research in one’s historical-fiction novels? For that matter, why should one read historical-fiction at all?
Many people have told me that they see history in black-and-white. To them, history is a jumble of dull dates, facts, and is just a focus on the glories and failures of another time that is irrelevant to us today.
And that is the exact reason why reading historical-fiction or studying history in general is so important.
Those people were not black-and-white, covered-in-dust memorabilia. They were real, living, breathing humans with joys and struggles exactly like our own. And understanding those people helps us understand ourselves. Until we understand history, we will not comprehend who we are, where we have come from (either as a nation, an ethnic group, or an individual), and where we are going. Most importantly, until we understand history, we will not see the mighty works of God and His Providence all throughout time.
The Bible tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. And history has a sad way of repeating itself – probably because no one ever took the time to look at past mistakes and resolve not to make them again in our generation. Hindsight is 20/20 – but only if we take the time to give that glance back over our shoulders and delve deep into another era.
Studying Rome can help us see where we as Americans are going. Studying the Middle Ages shows us God’s mighty way of planting seeds of growth, invention, and reformation – most of which would impact all of time. Studying the Alamo shows how courage and sacrifice helped found this nation and provoked a desperate fight for freedom, resulting in a wonderful piece of land we Americans call Texas.
Until you really study history, you won’t know all the wonderful blessings that brought you to where you are and formed the country you live in.
In conclusion, allow me to share a tidbit from Remembering the Alamo, where Pastor Mark Siegler lightly covers this very topic.
Mark paused. “History, guys, is a sort of mirror to our own lives. When we understand it, we understand where we came from, what circumstances shaped our present course. And the part I like is that we can see God's hand of providence all throughout time. We can see where He led others and how His leading resulted in the lives we live today. Take the Alamo, for example. You boys have been learning about the lives of some very important men and how their dedication to the cause of liberty gave us our country’s state of Texas. More than that, you've learned how God impressed it upon those men to withstand a cruel and ungodly dictator, thus setting an example for us today.”
-Remembering the Alamo. Copyright 2014 by Alicia A. Willis. All Rights Reserved.
Alicia A. Willis is a home-school graduate, published author, and avid historian. She is a firm believer in the principle that one can accomplish anything by substantial amounts of prayer and coffee. Visit her at her blog to view her historical-fiction novels and all the goings-on between writing!
Alicia is giving away a digital copy of Remembering the Alamo Enter to win below