Tag: John Bunyan

Surely I am with you all the days!

Grace Gems Whiteby Alexander Smellie

“On the Secret Place” 1907

“Surely I am with you all the days, to the very end of the age!” Matthew 28:20

The path in front of me may be full of flowers–or full of thorns. Or, as is more probable, flower and thorn may be mingled together. The sky may be light–or dark. The weather may be glorious summer–or bleakest winter. But I go safely and happily, if the Lord Jesus, who can and will supply my every need, is with me all the days.

Some of the days will be days of discipline–of the pruning knife and the cleansing fire. But when He is with me, the discipline is a blessing, and not a curse. It teaches me . . . to grasp His strong right hand with a tighter hold, to pray more earnestly, to find heights and depths of meaning in the promises of God, to feel for others who are in tribulation. Mind and heart and character are bettered by the endurance of affliction.

Many of the days, too, will be days of monotony. They must be spent in little things–household labors, common concerns, unnoticed toil. I may long for a more striking and interesting experience. But when He is with me, I know that He makes my life like His own–the blessed life He lived among carpenters’ tools, and village streets, and peasant people. The drudgery is a love-message–it is Jesus Christ in disguise!

Every day will be a day of temptation. In the home, in the business, in company, in loneliness–I shall encounter the devil’s subtle snares. But let my Lord be with me, and temptation will but reveal the closeness and blessedness of the tie. It will be an instrument which He uses to impart more maturity to my graces–more courage, more patience, more trust.

Perhaps one of the days will be the day of death. But if He does not leave or forsake me, then death will be an ingredient in the training that fits me for the glorious inheritance! As John Bunyan pictures it–I must cross the ‘River of Death‘ to reach the ‘Celestial City‘. Jesus did it Himself, and the disciple is not above the Master. His Everlasting Arms will sustain me in the flood; and, on the other side, I shall enter the ‘Beautiful Gate’ and see His face!

ALL the days He is with me–to the end, and through the end, and beyond the end forever and ever! Whether I live, therefore, or whether I die–I am His and He is mine!

by Alexander Smellie

Press through the swamps!

George Whittenby George Whitten

Psalms 107:2-6 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south. They wandered in the wilderness in a solitary way; they found no city to dwell in. Hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them. Then they cried unto the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them out of their distresses.

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. Now there’s one part of Pilgrim’s Progress that I want to focus on today — walking through the Swamp of Despondency!

At one point during their travels, Christian and his companion suddenly find themselves there….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 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!

Your family in the Lord with much agape love

by George Whitten