I think in the last two weeks I’ve managed to attract about seven new followers, all of them people I don’t actually know. For those of you who blog, you know that kind of excitement is very, very uncontainable. WHOOOOOOO! People read the stuff I write! Whoooooo!
Anyway, Pilgrim’s Progress.
Christian and Hopeful, who have been going along for quite some time now, are REALLy far into their journey. I’d love to mark their progress on a map, but a google image search doesn’t return very much as far as good maps of the world of Pilgrim’s Progress goes. Just know that Christian has gone a long, long way since he’s left the City of Destruction in the first couple pages.
The trouble is that all this walking has done a number on their feet. After taking a nice, but short, walk through a meadow, they see that the path diverges on either side of a fence, with the one path leading away from the meadow to harsher ground, the other keeping with it. Wanting to keep with the meadow, and thinking it keeps with their path to the Celestial City, Christian advises that he and Hopeful follow the road through the meadow. This proves to be a hasty decision, as they find themselves at the mouth of a pit which holds the remains the former pilgrims that had fallen in, deceived as they were. Making their way back, they fall asleep on the grounds of Doubting Castle, owned by the Giant Despair, who finds them and throws them in his dungeon.
This isn’t good for our boys, who wind up in the dungeon for about a week with no food or water, being beaten every so often by Despair, who tells them the only way out is for them to kill themselves. Though suicide seems like the only option, the men refuse to give up. After awhile, Christian remembers that he holds a key called Promise, which can open any of the doors in Doubting Castle, and the men escape to the Delectable Mountains.
Now, this is very much a Deus Ex Machina moment (divine intervention; it’s a literary device where, when all hope is lost, something saves the protagonist(s) from certain doom which could only be an act of God). Sometimes, I want to go, “Really, Christian just HAPPENED to have a key to all the doors and gates of the castle?” It does seem lame, but this is what we need to take from this:
Many of us have been prisoners of the Giant Despair, and he’s beat the tar out of us, starved us, attempted to force us to kill ourselves. I’ve been a prisoner there too, where every tall building or bridge looks like a way out. This blog gets preachy enough, but I don’t care: your life is too valuable, too precious to throw away. Despair might have you in its clutches, but God has give you the key called Promise, a love that will last longer and one day unlock your prison and set you free. Endurance may wear thin, hope fade, but He who is faithful to us in our own unfaithfulness will teach us to be stronger, even if it was our own error that brought us to despair in the first place.
Every now and then I post a song to go along with what I’m writing. This one’s a favorite of mine, and a good reminder of the hope found in the Living God. Thanks for bearing with me through some preachy stuff; this kind of talk is what <em>Pilgrim’s Progress</em> was written for. See ya Thursday!