Thursday, May 22, 2008
The Key Called Promise
I've been wanting to make this post ever since Sunday night's sermon, but I'm just getting to it. As you probably already know, next to the Bible, The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan is the most widely read book in the English language. Not only has it been translated into over two hundred languages, but it's still alive and quite well after having been first published in 1678. It has never gone out of print. Isn't that remarkable? If you've never read it, I urge you to do so and to introduce it to your children. There are versions for the younger folks, you know, and there are tapes that can be gotten.
You may also be familiar with the part of the story where Christian unfortunately leads his friend Hopeful out the the way by attempting an easier path, a poor choice, where they find themselves in all kinds of difficulties, last of which is on the grounds of Doubting Castle, owned by Giant Despair. The old giant was, of course, determined to do them in and they were at their wit's end when on Saturday about midnight they began to pray and continued to do so until almost dawn. It is here that Mr. Bunyan ingeniously weaves in a truth that we all must remember:
Now a little before it was day, good Christian, as one half amazed, brake out in this passionate speech: What a fool, quoth he, am I thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle. Then said Hopeful, That's good news; good brother, pluck it out of thy bosom and try.
And so Christian did pull it out of his bosom and he tried and opened every door so that they eventually escaped from that horrible place and made it back to the King's highway and were safely away from the giant's jurisdiction. All of us have that key, you know, and it doesn't matter what the circumstances might be.
This has been a week of sad news. Actually, every week we'll hear of sad news. My point here is that I hope those undergoing trials will remember this key. As believers, we have it in our bosoms, and it will unlock the doors that close us into despair and doubts. For some it's particularly difficult--the many saints who are being persecuted as well as those who are going through trials. How easy it would be for the Christians in Myanmar and China to despair right now. The pain and grief inflicted on the Chapman family at this time could bring doubts of the goodness of God. I hope these and the many others who are groping in dark times will read the many promises given by our God in His Word--there is the key that will unlock any doors that would keep them from finding the way of faith.