I have heard of much sickness, sorrow, and pain of late. Not on my part for the present, but on the part of others I read or hear about. No promises have been made at any time that this pilgrimage would be an easy one.
The above quote is from Pilgrim's Progress; it occurred quite soon after Christiana and Mercy were given entrance by the Keeper of the gate into the way leading to the Celestial City . I love the account about their entrances through the gate. Take special notice that they were helped. In the case of Christiana, whose children came with her, he took her by the hand, and led her in. Shortly after, Mercy's access was accomplished when , after taking her hand and bidding her arise after she fainted outside the gate, the Keeper took her again by the hand, and led her gently in. Do you see, dear friends? Bunyon understood it well. In His love and tenderness, Jesus brought us in. And not just that, He brought us in gently. This stirring account, written so long ago, reminds me once again how thankful I am for the Savior, who guided this poor, helpless sinner through the narrow passageway. I would have horribly gashed myself trying to get through on my own.
So as we travel through the shadows, won't He continue to gently lead us? And won't He continue to show us by what deed He fetched us? And won't He continue to speak many good words to us, to gladden our hearts? Yes, beloved ones, we'll keep receiving help beyond the gate.
Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Hebrews 13:12-14