Reflections on God's Grace

I want to take this opportunity to offer thanks to God for what He has allowed me to do in my life. There was a time when I thought my life was going to be wasted as a result of some bad decisions I made. Yet I learned a valuable lesson: if we turn our hearts back to the Lord, He is still there. He’s never done with us—we are truly works in progress.

I was 38 when I received my doctorate in history. Simultaneously, I began fulltime teaching at Indiana Wesleyan University. For five years, I honed my teaching craft as best I could, endeavoring to be worthy of this opportunity. I remember saying to myself repeatedly, “He is the God of the Second Chance.”

My teaching was well received by students at IWU, and one year the student body voted me professor of the year. It was a humbling experience, but also gratifying. Students periodically came over to the house for an evening of Bible study and fellowship.

But Indiana Wesleyan was only the first stop on this journey.

In 1994, an opening occurred in the School of Government at Regent University. This was a master’s program designed to train Christians for service in the public sector. My task was to provide the historical background each student needed for working in the realm of government and public policy.

My office was in this building. It was inspiring to arrive there each morning and to know that I was doing something valuable for the furtherance of a Biblical worldview in American society.

More than that, though, was the joy of developing relationships with the students who would be sent out to make a difference in politics. My office was large enough to hold prayer meetings with my advisees once a week. To say I have fond memories of my seven years at Regent would be an understatement. Rarely does one have the opportunity to teach students who are eager to learn, and most of my Regent students were of that type. I thank God He opened the door for this experience.

In northern Virginia, just about an hour outside of Washington, D.C., a small college named after one of America’s premier founders—Patrick Henry—started in 2000, designed primarily as a place where homeschoolers might feel welcome. I joined the faculty in 2001. The students were unique. They were focused. They were a delight to teach.

I have this habit of using cartoons in my teaching [so you can understand why I use so many political cartoons in this blog]. One day, at the end of chapel, I was surprised by a call for me to come to the front. I had no idea what was happening. The students had bought the entire Calvin and Hobbes collection for me, and chose that venue to present the gift. I was almost literally speechless (but not quite).

Now I am at Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida. It would be a nice place to retire, provided I ever get to that stage of life. Is retirement really a Christian concept?

Southeastern has provided a wonderful opportunity to develop the history program as well as initiate a brand new public policy degree, which will begin in fall 2010. God’s grace is so evident in that I have been appointed chairman of an academic├é┬ádepartment. This was not something I necessarily sought, but when offered it, I sensed that the Lord wanted me to say yes.

I love it here, and I have already grown to love the students. Is this my final stop? Honestly, although I would like it to be, you just never know what God will do and where He will lead.

Why have I spent valuable time on a blog writing about my personal history? The goal was to honor the grace of God. When we least deserve His favor, He reaches down and picks us up, and says, “Trust in Me and all will be well.” Now, He doesn’t say, “Trust in Me and you will have no problems.” I understand that. We learn through our tough times. His promise is that no matter how hard it may be, He is always there and He will always care. To God be the glory.