She was, and is, my favorite college professor. Because she made me think and that thinking changed my life. Not because she was an inspiring woman. Few teachers had done that before, and few have since. That, to me, is what makes a great teacher.
For the past two days I have read Night to the girls. It is one of my alltime favorite books, which few understand due to its depressing nature. It is the story of Elie Wiesel and his family as he endures Auschwitz during WWII. The reason I love the story so much is because of the deep impact it had upon me. It was the first book I was assigned to read in that Religious Studies class. With each page I indeed (as she had hoped) wondered how a loving God could let "His people" endure such horror. How could the God of Love that I had been introduced to, and recently given my life to, allow such? How could He? I sat long in coffee shops and cried over it, I talked with Christian friends who seemed unaffected by it, I even called my seminary enrolled friend Doug (I was not dating him yet, but respected immensely) who told me "I needed to struggle through every part of these thoughts," but offered no guidance in doing so. I felt alone in sorting through something unsortable.
I wept. I wrestled. I looked for Light in this story but saw only reflections somewhere I could not make out.
I had no worldview.
I had never been trained to have one.
I had been churched and Sunday schooled and such, but worldview is a lens through which we see everything, and it is learned, and it is a choice. Somewhat like putting on glasses so as not to continue in a version of blindness, worldview unalterably changes how one sees the world. As glasses give only one (new and accurate) perspective, so does worldview. I had no worldview, only a knowledge of a Living God and a belief in Him, but not the perspective of one who has wholly placed Him over the eyes of their heart; accepting His Sovereignty over all, choosing to see everything through that lens.
My professor wanted us to live and think for ourselves and not "under" Anyone. When you live "under" Anyone else you will always be disappointed, she would say. Night was one of her proofs of that.
No one in my class had a worldview either; they only had their parents faith. Or less.
“Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp,
which has turned my life into one long night,
seven times cursed and seven times sealed.
Never shall I forget that smoke.
Never shall I forget the little faces of the children,
whose bodies I saw turned into wreaths of smoke beneath a silent blue sky.
Never shall I forget those flames which consumed my faith forever.
Never shall I forget that nocturnal silence which deprived me,
for all eternity,
of the desire to live.
Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God
and my soul
and turned my dreams to dust.
Never shall I forget these things,
even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself.
(Wiesel p. 43).
Biblical worldview has been defined as a mental roadmap for navigating reality, and I think that is about the best definition I have ever heard. And though my freshman professor led me to the thoughts which began to form my worldview, it was Dr. Francis Schaeffers works and the teaching of John Piper which taught me (in later years) to radically change and open my eyes to the power of God’s Word and my responsibility as a Christian to see and respond to all of life through the lens of Scripture.
And so, as I entered the years of homeschooling my children, I came with such lens.
I write this post today after standing with Doug as he was bent over our car in the garage trying to fix something. Just before I stood with him I read for an hour from Night with our girls. What I told him as I stood on the garage steps, and he never looked up from his endeavor, was how puzzled I have been these past two days as I have read to them. I told him that, though the girls seem wholly engaged in the story and have chosen to not even do art as I read (which always tells me how deeply they are drinking), they have shown no signs of shock nor betrayal. Granted, I told him, they have been taught the story of WWI and WWII and have much knowledge of the timeperiod and the events occurring and all, but in talking with them afterwards I hear no surprise nor bitterness. I hear no doubt, thats the best word: doubt, I told him. I have been puzzled, I told him. How can this book, which at my deepest levels "undid" me as a young adult be but an engaging, and sorrowful yes but doubt-luring no, account? How? I asked if he supposed that they didnt understand somehow? If I needed to teach something differently?
He never looked up, stayed bent over the engine working diligently.
Silence. Chosen words is the way of my husband.
He never looked up.
Tears fell. As hard and fast as they did when I sat in those coffee shops as a young adult grasping for the Hem of the God I wanted to love and trust, but didnt know if I fully could.
He paints my life with His color. He wraps me in His Plans. He knows what He has for me and has all the days of my life. He prepares me and leads me for what is to come, and who is to come. Even and especially those I am to lead.
Today I am thankful once again for all this life holds. I am amazed.
**if you are wondering about Biblical Worldview and what it is, this article might be very helpful.