History 101

1/26
((from Bri))

Call it pride, but I only like things that I’m good at. If I don’t excel at it, I’m not into it. You can see that reflected in my Math and Science grades – it’s just not my thing. But English and History, ahhhh, well there you have my full attention professor. I’m good at that stuff and I enjoy it. So, I was very happy to hear that my first class was a history class.

I walked into class, preoccupied with the thought about what I’d planned for afterward in the sunny afternoon, when I recognized the voice of the professor… “That’s not Professor Mills,” I thought to myself.

This voice was soothing. This voice was familiar and calming, yet authoritative. I felt tears welling up in my eyes inexplicably and took a quiet deep breath to try and pull myself together.

“Good morning everyone. Please take your seats.”

As we began to file in and find our chairs, a silence fell over the room. This man knew how to command attention with only a few words.

“Professor Mills is out sick today, so I will be your professor. My name is God. No need to call me Professor God or Mr. God. Just God will do. Or you can call me,  I AM.”

After He’d introduced Himself, He let out a laugh that startled us all. He seemed unfazed at the fact that no one laughed with Him. In fact, we were speechless. God was teaching our class!

“If you’re concerned about my credentials as a history professor – don’t be. I have always existed, I have always been present. So I can tell you anything you need to know.”

And as if He could read our thoughts, He continued… “Yes, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I was there for it all, every page that will be written and every page of time that has been…”

We sat stunned for a bit, too stunned to even notice how awkward the silence was or how awkward it was to think of what to say, what to ask, of God. Finally a freshman to my left piped up with flushed cheeks and boldness in his shaky voice:

“So what about slavery? What about corruption? What about injustice?” he asked.

God went to open His mouth and no words would come. We watched as His strong face softened and His eyes misted over. I wanted, intensely, to tear my gaze from His face and stare at my desk but… I just couldn’t. No one could, so we all stared.
He started to weep. The emotion was so intense that I think all of us had tears in our eyes. His sadness filled the room.

He slowly gathered Himself.

“Since the beginning, I have been making every wrong right. It was a long process. I tried using kings and queens and prophets… sharing the truth with them, sharing myself with them…”

“But you could have stopped it all. You could have changed history!” another student interjected.

“Yea, and made our textbooks a lot thinner,” another student jeered under her breath.

“I will never be able to explain in human words why it had to be this way. You don’t realize that one misplaced moment could send this whole thing in chaos. But I promise you this, I am redeeming it all.

…I am redeeming it all…
The sincerity with which He spoke sent chills up my spine.

“The ‘Christian narrative’ is so much more than a religious story. It is history. I’ll never forget the moment that I had to send my son. And He, Jesus, couldn’t just fix things with a snap of His fingers – He had to die a torturous horrible death. I’ve never known pain like that. But He was so willing. He loves me so much and He shares my love for you. His life, death, and resurrection doesn’t just make a good sermon. It sets the foundation for the rest of our story, our history.”

This morning I’d not pondered what we’d discuss in class – maybe politics or wars, but I can assure you I didn’t think we’d be talking about Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice. Not that it makes me uncomfortable – I grew up in church. So, I’m not unfamiliar the story. I know all about grace and mercy and love…
or at least I thought I did.

It’s just that, well… I guess I had compartmentalized it all before, but now it started to fit together like a puzzle.

As I sat there perplexed and pondering and overwhelmed and listening intently, I hadn’t realized my hand had been penning something on my open notebook page, but, as any student it was habitual that I take copious notes while listening, trying not to miss anything that could be on an exam.

Quickly I glanced down to see what I’d written from this eternally-weighted class and it was just one sentence…

“He was and is and will always be in everything.”

Well, I guess that’s history.

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me. Who is like Me? Let him proclaim and declare it; Yes, let him recount it to Me in order, from the time that I established the ancient nation. And let them declare to them the things that are coming and the events that are going to take place. Do not tremble and do not be afraid; Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses Is there any God besides Me, Or is there any other Rock? I know of none.'”
Isaiah 44:6-8

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