Recently my wife asked me what I remembered about my days at Dallas Theological Seminary, or “Dallas The Logical Seminary” as my son called it back in the day. Many memories began to immediately creep into my thinking. The pain of study. One syllabus was more than enough for one class per semester, but we were given four….and in some cases more. Professors were seemingly trying to kill you on the one hand, and yet on the other they were praying specifically for you. Now that’s a conundrum. Having to work part-time while maintaining a heavy class schedule is a pain-filled memory. I have to admit I was envious of those students coming from Campus Crusade and other evangelical organizations that had their way paid. After class they would go to the library to study while those having to work would…. well…. go to work.
But strangely, it was not seminary that I thought of most. I mean who couldn’t pass up praising God for the likes of Howard Hendricks, Tony Evans, John Walvoord or John Hannah. Walking the halls with men like Charles Ryrie or Dwight Pentecost, and Chuck Swindoll had not even begun to make his mark yet.
But it is not these excellent teachers that I remembered. It was memories of my three children that came to mind. When we moved to Dallas, we rented a small house in Garland. As the Lord had it, it was a nice community just about as close to downtown Dallas as one could live without being downtown Dallas…. and fairly close to the seminary.
Now about my three children! My oldest, Chris, was four when we moved in. Kerri, my daughter, was three, and Quinn was two. As I recall this first event, it may have been a bit prior to my seminary days – because Chris was just learning to walk with a steady gate. As the reader recognizes with age comes memory mistiness. But Chris and I would go on short walks together on a sidewalk. At first, I held my right index finger (my trigger finger) down for him to grab it…and off we would go. That worked well until Chris would stumble. Down he would go! Ouch! This happened so frequently that I soon began holding on to his hand with my hand. It did not take long for Chris to realize that if he stumbled and fell, I would grab him and hold him up. This became the regular routine. I noticed a subtle change. When I would hold my index finger down for Christ to grab, he wouldn’t have it. He would take my hand and wrap it around his hand. He liked this better. He realized that I was holding to him…he was not holding on to me.
Later I used this as my very best illustration of eternal security in Christ that one could have. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them. I give to them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone take them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to take them out of My Father’s hands. I and My Father are one” (John 10:28-30). The Lord Jesus and God the Father Himself hold onto believers. We are held securely by our triune God’s double grip! Since neither will let go, we can never be lost…. never!
The next illustration came from my daughter Kerri when she was about four. I had not received my first paycheck from the Dallas Times Herald and funds were short. The fridge was a might empty. God’s timing is always perfect! A lady from our church in Garland came to visit. We were all in the living room chatting niceties, when Kerri just blurted out, “We don’t have no groceries.” Linda and I could have melted under the carpet. But shortly afterward, we received one whopper of an old fashioned pounding. Kerri’s words came back time and again teaching me God’s promise that He would supply all our needs according to His riches in glory (Philippians 4:19). And He has!
And finally, Quinn. We wanted our children to learn to swim quickly. Quinn was taking swimming lessons – maybe between two or three years old. One day at the pool I told him to jump off the diving board and I would catch him. At first he was very reluctant, as one would imagine. He looked at the water then he looked at me. Then he focused on his dad and his dad’s words, “Quinn, I will catch you.” These to that child were strong words coming from a very strong object in his life. Could he really trust me with his very life. He bailed off right into my arms…totally trusting! The truth is so very clear and one to be applied with our heavenly Father. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean to your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). And we have trusted, leaned upon, and acknowledged Him through the strongest and weakest moments of our lives. And amazingly, He has directed our paths. Thanks, my children!