Dr. Dobbs was my freshman biology professor at Wofford. One third of the freshman class at Wofford thought they wanted to be doctors! I was one of them. Day one, Dr. Dobbs walked in, chewing on a cigar, and began lecturing. He expected we could read the syllabus and figure out how the course worked so he didn’t waste time explaining it. He began lecturing. He lectured for fifty minutes and dismissed class. Day two was the same. Every Monday, Wednesday he lectured. Every Friday, he quizzed us and then lectured. Three times a semester we had a major test. We had one final exam.
Then there was lab. We dissected a pig–all semester. Our final exam was pins stuck in all kinds of parts of that pig with numbers. Our task: identify each part. When we walked into the lab for the final, Dr. Dobbs was standing down front, chewing on his cigar. At our stations was a piece of paper with around a hundred blanks lines. We began at one station, and when the time was up he would say, “Next” and on to the next. I was never so glad to finish an exam!
Dr. Dobbs was a great professor because he gave great lectures and great tests. And he convinced me (and about 100 other students) that we were not supposed to be doctors. Wofford had a 98% acceptance rate into medical school…because of Dr. Dobbs. He readied future-doctors and weeded out would-be doctors.
In Psalm 66, the Psalmist writes, “For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.” (10-12)
God is like every good professor, or maybe we should say that every good professor is like God. Every good professor tests his students after he has taught them. Every good professor teaches well and tests well. God does too. Every good silversmith heats the silver to rid it of impurities.
It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply. God actually rises up storms of conflict in relationships at times in order to accomplish that deeper work in our character. We cannot love our enemies in our own strength. This is graduate-level grace. Are you willing to enter this school? Are you willing to take the test? If you pass, you can expect to be elevated to a new level in the Kingdom. For He brings us through these tests as preparation for greater use in the Kingdom. You must pass the test first.”A.W. Tozer
I finished Dr. Dobbs’ class with a hard-earned “B”…and I wasn’t used to making B’s. I clearly did not become a doctor, but I learned something. I learned how to listen in class, study outside of class, and I learned that the best professors teach well and test well.
God is the ultimate professor. And he’s my Father.
He’s testing me. And you too. The Psalmist passed his test. We can too.
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul. I cried to him with my mouth, and high praise was on my tongue. If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, because he has not rejected my prayer or removed his steadfast love from me!Psalmist, 66:16-20