In his book, Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan has written one of the most beautiful allegories about the journey we all travel as believers.
The book describes the hero, Christian, and his journey from the City of Destruction to his heavenly destination, the Celestial City.
At one point during their travels, Christian and his companion suddenly find themselves in the Swamp of Despondency. Still bearing his burden, Christian begins to sink in the mire. His traveling companion manages to get out, but he returns to the City of Destruction without giving aid to Christian. Christian is left all alone and sinking even deeper in the mire, until Help, the allegorical figure for the Holy Spirit, pulls him free from the swamp.
Christian then asks Help why this dangerous plot of land has not been mended so that poor travelers might go safely to the Celestial City. Help replies, “This miry slough is such a place that cannot be mended.”
How true it is in real life! As hard as we try to avoid them, whether young in the Lord, or spiritually mature, swamps of despondency seem inevitable, and we must struggle through them!
Charles Spurgeon once wrote to his students in the book, Lectures to my Students, “Fits of depression come over most of us. Usually cheerful as we may be, we must at intervals be cast down. The strong are not always vigorous, the wise not always ready, the brave not always courageous, and the joyous not always happy. There may be here and there men of iron, but surely the rust frets even these.”
There are times in our lives when we will struggle through the swamps of despondency—but praise God that He has provided us a helper for those times of need! We need to press through, seeking and trusting the power of the Holy Spirit to pull us out of those nasty swamps, and set our feet back upon the Rock of our salvation.
Let’s also look around us to see our brethren who may be struggling in the swamps of despondency, so that, rather than abandoning them, we might give them a hand on their journey to the Celestial City!
by George Whitten