I read this picture book version many times as a child, but this is my first time encountering the original text as I prepare to teach my students about the text this fall.
In the first few pages, I have already been struck by the intensity of the allegory.
"Now he had not run far from his own door, but his Wife and Children perceiving it, began to cry after him to return; but the man put his fingers in his ears and ran on crying, Life! Life! Eternal Life! So he looked not behind him . . ." (Bunyan 15).
I am currently dating a wonderful gentleman, and we are both looking excitedly towards spending the rest of our lives together.
I want to be a wife and a mother.
These are not bad desires. At least one of them has the very real possibility of coming true in the somewhat near future.
But, these desires have consumed me before and I fear they are beginning to do so again.
Christian ran from his spouse and children.
He ran with his fingers in his ears from the relationships for which I deeply long.
He let nothing, not even beautiful human relationships, stand between him and his relentless pursuit of his Savior.
Oh, how often I let people stand between me and the LORD.
Oh, how often I let my ideas about the future stand between me and the LORD.
That's the possibly greater problem.
I don't even have these relationships yet.
This husband, these children - they don't exist, yet; and already I am already more faithful to them than I should be.
My fidelity to the ideas in my head is far too great.
The more faithful I am to my own head, the less able I am to be present in the reality the LORD has put before me in this exact moment.
"Jesus sums up common-sense carefulness in a disciple as infidelity" (Chambers, commenting on Matthew 6:25).
I am so guilty of common-sense preparation for the future.
Oh, LORD, may my fidelity be always anchored in You and never in my own head.
Oh, LORD, may I run hard toward the Celestial City always.
Bunyan, John. The Pilgrim’s Progress. New York: Barnes and Noble, 2005. Print.
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost For His Highest. Ohio: Barbour Publishing, 1963. Print.