Friday, October 16, 2009
Priority #1 - My God - Pilgrim's Progress
I have discovered Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. You would think that in my 17 years of homeschooling that I would have read this book, but it is new to me. It was first brought to my attention in a sermon I listened to online by Chuck Swindoll. He told of the main character's fall into the Slough of Despond. It caught my attention because I am well acquainted with the place. I have too have gotten stuck there many a time. I also wanted to read it because Princess Butterfly is studying the Pilgrims and the Puritans at this time.
I got the complete unabridged version of the book but I thought I would share it with my children so I found a kid's translation at the library.
As I was reading to my children one particular section stood out to me the other day, in light of all I have endured this past summer. It was a conversation between Christian and Apollyon. Just like it says of the Devil in Revelation 12, "Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down," Apollyon brings up the things that Christian has done wrong:
"When, Apollyon, have I been unfaithful to Him?"
Apollyon leered and came another step closer. "When you almost failed in the Slough of Despond. When you tried disloyal ways of removing your burden. When you almost turned back at the sight of the lions. When you took pride in telling of your so-called victories at the Palace Beautiful."
"All this is true," admitted Christian, "and much more that you have left out. But the prince that I serve is merciful and ready to forgive."
I have asked the Lord to help me forgive my relatives. It is a daily thing. At this point, I forgive as an act of will, but I don't want to see them or communicate with them. I just want to be left alone. My neighbor said to me, "This is not what I expect of you." This same neighbor has watched me live through the unemployment of my husband, the death of my daughter, and the taking in of my nephew. You know what? This is not what I expect of me either. I thought I was strong enough to take the false accusations, the vicious slander, my private life being open to public scrutiny, and still make myself available to her. I'm not. But thankfully, I don't have to be. "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." 2 Corinthians 12:9
The grace that I have for today keeps me from dishonoring her with my mouth. In spite of all the pain that I carry, other than a couple of close friends, Friend Hubby, and My Diva, I don't speak of her at all. Better I should say nothing than to sin with my mouth. I may not do everything right, but I'm trying to do SOMETHING right.
Finally, I was able to find an abridged radio drama of Pilgrim's Progress. It takes the monotony out of my work to listen to it between reports.
I received a blessing this week. A total stranger, sent me a book that I've been needing for Boy Wonder's curriculum. I had ordered the book a couple of times from Amazon and twice was sent the wrong book. This woman asked me to allow her to bless me with the book for free. How incredible is that? When I received the book and unwrapped it, inside there was a card that read:
"The Christian life is not one chain of successes, victories, and triumphal marches - It's warfare against the forces of the Evil One. Praying that you will be strong and courageous in the daily battle." Isn't that a blessing? And for a change, to have another Christian sister, rather than scold and tell me what THEY think I should do about my situation, to just simply acknowledge my fight. That THEY see that my battle is not with flesh and blood but with the enemy of my soul, and though I have fallen, I am not defeated, nor is the battle over.
Pray my strength in the Lord!