John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress back in the 17th century, called this human journey “the way to glory” and the “race of saints” (The Author’s Apology). His religious bias was made clear in the name of his main character, “Christian.” And yet, whether we are Christians or not, whether we believe or not, our time here is a spiritual, God-inspired pilgrimage. We are all put here to grow and to change. And the burden we carry, perhaps even more than our sinfulness, is our loneliness.
Bunyan understood such despair. Convicted for renouncing the Church of England, he spent years in Bedford Jail, a particularly squalid and filthy place with no privacy. He, along with his fictional pilgrim Christian, faced “Difficulty Hill” and the “Valley of Humiliation.” And yet, instead of being broken by his years in jail, they became a creative time for Bunyan. It was then that he began to write Pilgrim’s Progress, an allegory of a journey, a journey that forces us to change, to refocus the direction of our lives. Human beings are indeed sojourners in this natural world of beauty and tragedy. Our walk here is a temporary one. (Drawn from Living Strong, chapter 24, ©️ 2014)