Last weekend, as part of my seminary-wives education program, I read Blessed Hope: The Autobiography of John F. Walvoord. Far more than the life story of the author, professor, and second Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) president, the book chronicles the attacks on biblical fundamentalism in the first half of the twentieth century and recounts the history of DTS. Part of that history helped change my thinking about my living conditions.
Because of veterans who were returning from World War II during the late 1940s, enrollment at the seminary climbed. . . . Although sometimes the students were okay financially when they entered seminary, the veterans and their families coming to seminary had it pretty tough. Most of them struggled economically but believed that they were truly called of the Lord. The seminary put up temporary housing for them, but their living quarters were small, and the wives had to haul their laundry to a washroom. With the little apartments jammed together, privacy was a problem. Men came to class with holes in their shoes and ragged coats. Material needs were almost never completely met. . . . It was an unparalleled spiritual opportunity for the seminary. I can still see the eager faces of those men in the classroom. Even more touching, I can hear them singing in the chapel with thanksgiving to the Lord. Because that was so long ago, many of those men finished their seminary training, served the Lord with faithful hearts in their appointed rounds, and have already been called home by their Maker.Though it would be nice to have a newer apartment, when compared with the difficulties the post-war generation faced at DTS, I have nothing to complain about. Sometimes it just takes a little perspective to get our thoughts and attitudes in line.