The Professor

“They that know Thee not may call upon Thee as other than Thou art, and so worship not Thee but a creature of their own fancy; therefore enlighten our minds that we may know Thee as Thou art, so that we may perfectly love Thee and worthily praise Thee. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” A.W. Tozer


This Christmas season, more than ever before, I feel a great pull to dwell on things of the Lord more than things of this world. To celebrate in trembling wonder that the God of all Creation humbled Himself to save my dirty, rotten, pathetic soul. For His glory, He loves me. I do not want to miss the wonder of this for even one moment. Especially now when the world is covered in beautiful majesty, while the earth itself sparkles with the promise and remembrance of what He accomplished. On what was started that blessed Bethlehem night.

I had a wonderful privilege in my early twenties to attend Multnomah Bible College in Portland, Oregon.

For one beautiful and wonderful–yet, hard and pressing–semester.

Somehow in that one semester, without knowledge of what I was doing, I managed to sign up for–and be assigned to–the most requested professor/class at that time: Professor Needham. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the class–oh, but I remember Professor Needham.

I remember one of our textbooks (The Knowledge of the Holy, by A.W. Tozer) and now I read it so often that it is worn through. I rarely make it past the first few chapters because they are so rich.  It is my goal to finish it again by the end of the year.

Although I don’t remember the name, Professor Needham’s class was focused on God, on Who He is. What a topic, heavy with importance. And not for one minute did Needham take lightly his responsibility or his own human frailty to speak on something so weighty.

He would stand before us every class, with arms raised high, face turned upward, usually with tears in his voice. He implored the Lord, before us all, to be present, to give him words, to not let him speak in any way that was not right about God. He knew that we cannot ever know God fully, this side of heaven, and so he humbly and carefully took us through the Word of God. Every moment in that class was holy — holy unto the Lord. Careful to honor Him and worship Him as He deserves. Wholly devoted to drawing near to Him.

Lately I feel so scattered. I sit with my Bible in the mornings and sometimes I can’t even open it. I sit and pray and wonder and my thoughts wander. Sometimes life is just so distracting, no? But I have let it become too much so. In an effort to reign in my thoughts and get back to the real meat of life, I placed my Bible and The Knowledge of the Holy under my tree. I tiptoe out in the morning and start my coffee, plug in the sparkly tree, and I sit quietly while my coffee brews. I think through the things that I know need to be set aside so that I can concentrate. And today, I read the first chapter of The Knowledge of the Holy while I drake the first sips of my morning comfort. I was able to align my heart to pray and do my best to think rightly of God before I opened His word.

What a change it was. For a short time (before little ones invaded the quiet woke up) I was able to concentrate, pray, thank the Lord for Who He is, and plead to understand Him and worship Him as He deserves. I opened His word, heart ready and waiting to know Him, to love Him. To understand that the goal of holiness isn’t to be perfect, but to have a close relationship with a perfect God (Oswald Chambers inspired thought).
And in the recesses of my mind I saw that sweet, wonderful professor: hands raised in surrender, face turned upward, tears streaking his face, as he asked his Savior to draw near and lead us in our thoughts about Him.


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B.D. Riehl is the author of The Earth is Full and The Heavens Are Telling.


2 thoughts on “The Professor

  1. You’ve painted such a beautiful portrait of life lived in awe and love before our loving God—both your professor’s moving example, and your own. Thank you for nudging me to do the same, in this day and in this season.

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