UNLIKE BUDDHISM OR HINDUISM, biblical faith takes history very seriously because God takes it very seriously. God took it seriously enough to begin it and to enter it and to promise that one day it will be brought to a serious close. The biblical view is that history is not an absurdity to be endured or an illusion to be dispelled or an endlessly repeating cycle to be escaped. Instead, it is for each of us a series of crucial, precious, and unrepeatable moments that are seeking to lead us somewhere.
The true history of humankind and the true history of each individual has less to do than we tend to think with the kind of information that gets into most histories, biographies, and autobiographies. True history has to do with the saving and losing of souls, and both of these are apt to take place when most people—including the one whose soul is at stake—are looking the other way. The real turning point in our lives is less likely to be the day we win the election or get married than the morning we decide not to mail the letter or the afternoon we watch the woods fill up with snow. The real turning point in human history is less apt to be the day the wheel is invented or Rome falls than the day a child is born in a stable.