The ABC's of knowing God better: the letter "J"
He is the Rock, His works are perfect, and all His ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is He. – Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV)
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then He will reward each person according to what they have done. – Matthew 16:27 (NIV)
During my college years, one of my summer session classes was a three-hour-long literature course, taught by a professor who stood behind the podium and read from his notes. Very little interaction with students. Fortunately we had a short break midway through the morning to give us some respite from the monotony.
I wasn’t one to skip classes. The class notes were as important as out-of-class reading assignments when it came time to take his challenging essay exams, which we endured every Friday. I’d made the dean’s list each semester so far and had my eye on graduating at least cum laude.
During break time the professor also stepped out of the classroom, leaving his notes on the podium and his briefcase open on the desk. One Thursday when he left, a group of students huddled around the desk, one student rifling through the briefcase while another stood guard at the door.
“Here it is!”
While the rest of the class copied the essay questions for Friday’s test, I sat glued to my seat, a sinking feeling growing in my stomach. The professor graded on a curve. What chance did I have of getting a good grade?
I studied hard anyway. Test day came. I knew when I handed in my paper my best wouldn’t be enough. I went straight to the dorm and phoned home – collect. Between sobs, I spilled out the story to my parents. Later that afternoon Dad showed up, having driven two hours to take me home for the weekend.
The following week we got our tests back. I received a “C.” The other students – the cheaters – had gotten “A’s.”
“It isn’t fair,” I thought, blinking back tears.
After class, I waited until the classroom emptied then approached the professor.
“I don’t think this is a fair grade,” I began, swallowing the lump in my throat. How could I tell him why? I wasn’t a tattle-tale.
He shrugged, not even looking at me. “You just didn’t do as well as the others.”
“Thanks to you, you stupid jerk,” I wanted to say. But I didn’t. No sense in antagonizing the one who determined my final course grade. And sometimes professors could be, well, arbitrary.
I received (note I didn’t use the word earned) a “C” in the course, only the second throughout all of my college career. (The other was in philosophy, and I was happy just to pass that class.)
Sometimes we just have to take our lumps. Sometimes it seems as though unfairness rules the day. That those who do wrong prevail and those who do right suffer.
But I know my God is just and fair and in control. Someday we’ll all receive recompense – reward for good, punishment for bad.
In the meantime, know that when we call to Him, crying, our heavenly Father will drop whatever He’s doing to comfort, console, and counsel us.
And that’s better than an “A” any day!
Thank you, Father, that whether it be morning, evening, or noon, when I cry out in distress, You hear my voice. (Psalm 55:17). Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 37