John Bunyan was born in England in 1628. He received little schooling, but became a deacon in a Baptist church when he was 27 years-old and immediately saw success as a preacher. Because at that time it was illegal to preach without a license from the government and Bunyan belonged to an illegal denomination, he spent a total of 12 years in prison before dying at age 60. Bunyan wrote his most famous book, The Pilgrim’s Progress, while in prison. It is an allegory meant to illustrate the difficulties faced by Christians. The Pilgrim’s Progress tells the story of a man named Christian who is on his way to the Celestial City. In their travels, Christian and his companion Hopeful are captured by a giant named Despair and locked away in a castle called “Doubting Castle.” The giant starves his prisoners and beats them every day, trying to make Christian and Hopeful commit suicide. Finally, Christian remembers he has a key tucked in his clothes. The key is called Promise. Christian and his companion use the key to unlock their chains and escape the giant and his castle. In this episode, Bunyan shows how Christians can be captured and imprisoned by discouragement and doubt, but that they can overcome discouragement by remembering who God is and what He has promised.
Charles Stanley says that “Disappointments are inevitable, but discouragement is a choice.” By keeping our thoughts on God and His promises we effectively disarm the discouraging moments in our lives.
Lamentations 3:22-26 “The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is His faithfulness; His mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in Him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on Him, to those who search for Him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.”