History Lessons in Life

“I wish I was born a hundred years ago,” my daughter once remarked as she put away the “Little House on the Prairie” video she had been watching.

“Perhaps you were born for such a time as this” her brother replied. His comment was in reference to Gandalf’s speech in the movie The Fellowship of the Ring. “You never know what sort of tale you’ve landed in; you just follow the path that was laid for you. You know the people inside the tale never really know exactly what sort of tale it is.”  His quote of Samwise Gamgee in the book The Two Towers may not have been exact, but the meaning was accurate.  The Lord of the Rings trilogy, both the books and the movies, has often been a topic of discussion in our home for many years.

As my children’s conversation moved on to other topics, I thought about the message portrayed in J.R.R. Tolkien’s fictional saga that has remained popular for many decades.  Each person occupies some little point in history. Although the significance of our role may be incomprehensible to our finite understanding of time, we cannot change the time in which we were born, and in fact, we are each uniquely formed for the time in which we live.

The message of Gandalf to Frodo is not a new one. Mordecai’s message to Esther was the same: “And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14) Over the years we have studied many different time periods; ancient history, the Middle Ages, American history, even the twentieth century, and repeatedly history reveals God’s providence as He raised ordinary men to change the course of a nation.

It has been said that those who do not learn from their history are doomed to repeat it, but I believe we must also see ourselves as an essential part of history.  In 1987 home schools in Texas were recognized as private schools and, therefore, our students are exempt from the compulsory attendance statutes.  When the Texas Supreme Court upheld this decision in 1994, Integrity Educators (the home school support group in Plainview) was a fledgling group, having been established that same spring.  Was it a coincidence? Perhaps, but it was evidence that home schooling was on the rise as support groups were being formed around the state.  Families from diverse backgrounds were joining together to support each other in a common call: a call to raise a generation of children different from the past generation. Since that time, home school families in Texas have been free to educate their children without interference from state or local authorities.  God has given us a mandate to raise a generation of children as He has directed our hearts. Why have they been called to be different?  What does their future hold?  What will be their place in history?

Perhaps Frodo answered best when Sam asked, “I wonder what sort of a tale we’ve fallen into?”

“I wonder,” said Frodo. “But I don’t know. And that’s the way of a real tale.  Take any one that you’re fond of.  You may know, or guess, what kind of a tale it is, happy-ending or sad-ending, but the people in it don’t know.  And you don’t want them to.” *

I am thankful for a Sovereign God who knows and controls all of history—even that which is yet to be.

*The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien   Book four, chapter eight