Recognizing God's protection

By Marie Kneller '68, elementary education

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Marie Kneller graduated in 1968 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education. She is now retired and spends time gardening and visiting her children, Julie and James.

When I was at Walla Walla College, there was a beloved Sabbath School class teacher named Eddie Edstrom. When the first part of Sabbath School was over in the College Church, many dashed out to get to the class held in a different building. Everyone knew the room would be full and we all wanted a seat!

The class that stands out in my mind was about keeping the Ten Commandments. Eddie’s goal was to take out the stigma many felt—the negative of “thou shalt not.”

He went to the blackboard and spread out the numbers 1 through 10 all over. Then he drew a circle around each number. That circle represented a fence or a hedge of protection.

Outside of the circles he put many x’s. They signified the freedom we were given by God.

He emphasized that the commandments were for our protection, not to make life harder for us! If we guarded our lives, knowing that was what the commandments were for, we would live life well. The commandments were given to give us total freedom and not to hinder our happiness.

Actually, I was astounded, and it was at that time that I realized, “Yes Lord. I love Thy laws.” They are gifts and not negative rules.

Since then, I have come to understand that the Ten Commandments are truly an expression of God’s character and how we need to know Him and represent Him to others. First, we love God, and then our fellow man. This is the basis of the good news.

It has been 52 years since I graduated. I have witnessed and experienced the havoc that will result as people walk away from those beautiful and protective commandments. I have shared this view many times, and still hold it all in awe.

Edward Edstrom teaches from the front of an academy classroom.
Edward Edstrom teaches a bible class at Walla Walla Valley Academy.

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