Column – The reality of time shows history’s importance

Published 5:22 pm Friday, May 5, 2023

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The “reality” is we are a part of time and we can’t do anything about its slow or its fast passing, which many of us feel is happening these days. 

A third of 2023 is already behind us.

While going through old papers I came across one marked Y2K when much of the world was waiting expectantly to see how the first day and year of a new millennium could change our lives. I recently asked someone born about that time what she knew about Y2K. Her answer was “Y2K? What’s that?” 

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It begs the question: How important is history? What should we know about the past and how can it help us solve problems in the present day or in the future?

Time may have removed many of the memories about that historical moment, but a generation born and educated since then may know little of its history. Instead, this younger generation has succeeded in unwrapping a whole new lifestyle.

An older generation knew Y2K very well. For younger readers, Y2K took place at midnight 1999. Few of us knew about the legitimate concern of how it could affect complex computerized programs and timings but what we were hearing produced enough fear that people bought extra supplies and some filled their bathtubs with water.  We were relieved the next morning to wake up just like we always had, except for the start of a new millennium. 

If we so desired, we could look back at history to see something about those times, the years from 1000 A.D.-1999 A.D. For some of us today, 1999, the old millennium does not seem that long ago.

I briefly ‘relieved’ Y2K as I looked back at those old papers. I saw when all seemed normal, we settled back into our routine with little excitement or thought about the new millennium. How wrong we were. 

At my age, 95, I sometimes find myself immersed in memories. My reverie caught up with me when I realized the 23 years of events in this new millennium could fill a book. 

The first was called 9/11. We were raped when foreign powers blew up our Twin Towers and seriously damaged other properties. One act of heroism by two young men took their lives but spared a part of our country. Since then the media has had a constant line of compelling situations to report — political news, the space rocket explosions, massive weather conditions, shootings in schools and other places like malls, hospitals and grocery stores, major changes in our culture and even in some words in our language, such as the coronavirus that sparked fear in many. Not all fear is bad. It can serve as an alert. That is one reality of time.  

Now back to Time and history. We know there have been about 6000 years of recorded history or six previous millennia. The Jewish history keepers recorded it. Bible readers will remember several stories of millennial changes and happenings in those historic times, events that have taken place since God created this world. We are told how people lived and died and a little about the future and the world’s ending. 

Many of the players in those dramas are just like us. They may have listened to and followed God’s leadership for a short time, then decided they no longer wanted to live under His rules. Sadly, we are also reaping a harvest of weeds, some poisonous thoughts have been planted in today’s world. 

We have not learned our history lessons. The Bible is God’s Word from Genesis 1:1 to the end of Revelation, He created this world and all that is in it. He always pronounced judgment on sinful people. 

John’s Gospel tells us the story that after dying for our sins Jesus left earth, but sent the Holy Spirit, that great power of God, to indwell us and teach us how to live for God. We are reminded we will all give an account when we leave this world and stand in God’s presence. 

Jesus also said He will return and set up a divine Kingdom on earth. We don’t know if that time is near, but world conditions seem to indicate it could be. We do know how Israel forgot God, was judged, and lost their land. It is more important to be ready today than was necessary when we experienced Y2K. Let’s get out our Bibles and get on our knees because this may be when we need to be more ready than we needed to be for Y2K.


Myrtle V.  Thompson, age 95, of Suffolk, is a retired missionary, writer, author and Bible teacher.