I M 4 U

That’s what the plate on the front of the car said as we passed each other at an intersection recently. At least that’s what I think it said. I was only able to get a quick glance at it. 

Assuming that is what it said, what a great thing to put on a license plate! Four small words (symbols), but what a huge message! Are there any of us who wouldn’t benefit from knowing someone was on our side? 

It made me think about two professors I had in college.  One was the head of the history department. If you looked up the work “acerbic” in the dictionary, I’m fairly certain you’d find his picture there. His class was supposed to be the start of my collegiate experience. As things worked out (or more accurately didn’t work out), I got confused reading my schedule and ended up missing it. When I realized what had happened, I tracked the professor down and asked, “If I had missed anything important” (right idea, wrong wording!). Things kind of went downhill after that.

This particular professor loved to say and do things to intimidate his students. Humiliation and embarrassment were two of his favorite teaching techniques. On one occasion, he asked who was a Christian. I raised my hand along with one other person. From that time on, all of his comments and observations about the Christian faith were served up directly to us. And of course, we were always given the role of answering for everything that had been done in the name of Christianity. On another occasion, my grandmother died and we had to go out of state for her funeral.  Since that involved missing a class, the professor asked me to bring a copy of the obituary when I returned to show I wasn’t making the story up. A consummate believer in his fellow man, this man was.

Most of all, I remember exam days. Everyone in the class would be experiencing test anxiety when he would somberly walk into the room proclaiming, “Remember, the weak die along the way.”  It was the closest thing we had to a class motto. Anyway, the class was composed mostly of freshman like myself and we were easy prey for his tactics. Perhaps he was just kidding, but I (and I think just about everyone else), took him very seriously. With him, you never felt like you had anything other than an adversarial relationship. He never came across as being for you. 

The other professor was the former head of the history department. By luck of the draw, she was also my academic adviser. She was semi-retired and beginning to experience a slight deterioration in her health. But before you get the idea that she was just some grandmotherly pushover, remember, grandmotherly types do not head history departments!  One student who was in her senior seminar class found this out the hard way. He failed to have his thesis completed on time and she simply locked him in the seminar room until he was finished. (We heard he was there all night and part of the next day).

However, where this professor differed from the first professor was in this important area:  you knew she was on your side. She made you work hard—harder than the other professor, but you were willing to do it and you did better work because you wanted to please her. Do you know what her motto was? It was, “You have an ‘A’ in my class until you prove otherwise.” 

Our Father is like that. Even when He is judicially against us because of our sin, He is for us.  Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” The cross spans the centuries to say, “I am for you!” 

Whatever else is true in life, God is for you. Remember that. It’s something you can build your life upon.

Personally Speaking


Published by A Taste of Grace with Bruce Green

I grew up the among the cotton fields, red clay and aerospace industry of north Alabama. My wife and I are blessed with three adult children and five grandchildren.

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