Class Number Six

$400 later and she has a stack of books for her first semester of college. As a book nerd I pick up the stack of textbooks and flip through them, resisting the urge to open them up and stick my nose in the binding.

New book smell. Why don’t they make that as a car air freshener?

Did you sign up for this unexpected class?

My first days of college rush back to me, and I say to her, I love to learn. A feeling of jealousy comes up in my throat. You get to read new things and learn new stuff.

Five books sit on her desk: World music. Music foundations. Intro to fusiness.  Intro to economics (scary!) Biology.

There’s a sixth.

I feel it as I lay in our hotel room anxiously anticipating saying goodbye to her -seeing in her eyes the panic of coming loneliness.

The sixth textbook: Learning to rely on Jesus.

It should be on the schedule and come with a syllabus. It should require tuition and a ridiculously expensive textbook. It should be listed as a core requirement to get a degree. It should have a learning lab on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It should have tutorial support available.

It’s the hidden class. The one you don’t sign up for but get enrolled in anyway. The one that comes with starting a new job or having a new baby or experiencing a new illness, loss, or grief. It’s the class you take when you’re a mom alone all day with little people who can’t talk yet or when you plant your family in India or Africa to be missionaries.

John 13:25 (NIV) says of Peter:

“Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him…”

That’s the class –learning to lean back against Jesus 101. Learning to sit close. To ask the hard questions of the One who can answer them. To let Jesus’ love and His companionship be enough.

This old hymn comes to my mind as I think about learning to learn on Jesus.  Care to sing it with me today?

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,

Leaning on the everlasting arms;

What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.



Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms.

Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.


Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,

Leaning on the everlasting arms;

Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.


What have I to dread, what have I to fear,

Leaning on the everlasting arms?

I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,

Leaning on the everlasting arms.