When I was starting out in pastoral work, I looked up to Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, as a model. Criswell was in a class by himself. He’d been the leading pastor among Southern Baptists for over fifty years, and he was known for his exposition of Scripture. He once preached a 17-year sermon series through the whole Bible.
I met him on one occasion. Morris Proctor and I attended the First Baptist Church in Dallas in the early 1980s. We got there early, sat on the front row, and took it all in. Afterward at a reception for visitors we met the inimitable Criswell.
“Dr. Criswell,” I asked, “in all your years of ministry, have you ever gotten discouraged.”
He leaned back and smiled and boomed: “World without end!”
“Well, what do you do about it?” I asked.
He said something to this effect: “I always find that the discouragement is something that is in me. It’s not in the circumstances; they’re under God’s control. It’s not in the Lord; He’s never discouraged. So it’s just an unhelpful emotion that gets inside of me; and so I just have to give myself a little tme to push it back out, and I keep on going.”
That was all he had time to say, but it was enough.
Thank you, Dr. C!