The Pilgrim's Progress study is proving to be a most encouraging revisit to John Bunyan's heart and mind. Perhaps the most impressive aspects of Bunyan's story is his ability to develop characters - rich characters - in such a short span of time. Most of his characters are not on the pages of Pilgrim's Progress very long, and yet they live on in literary lore and more importantly in our minds. We can vividly and accurately identify many of the personalities in Pilgrims Progress with the personalities we see in our own lives. Arguably, Bunyan understood the Christian life, and indeed the human heart, as well as any post-apostolic (modern day apostles notwithstanding of course) human being ever has. This depth of insight is seen in how immediately we identify with Pilgrim and are able to relate much of Pilgrim's experience with our own. This was unforgettably driven home to me this morning.
This morning my son and I played a round of golf. The temperature was over 90 degrees by 10 o'clock. The humidity made the heat stick to your skin so that it felt like 190 degrees. I have a pull-cart on which I place my golf bag and am able to pull it around. My son has a carry-bag with a stand. He must carry his clubs on his shoulders from hole to hole (Now before you get all bent out of shape, let me tell you that when I was a boy we had to carry our bag up hill two miles in the sweltering summer heat just to set up a tee time to play the next day because we didn't have phones. But I digress). As you can imagine, by the time we were reaching our final holes, he was dragging behind. As I looked back at him to see where he was, he remarked to me, "It's easy for you, you don't have to carry a bag on your back. You can move faster than I can because like Pliable, you don't have a burden to carry." I chuckled and said, "Boy, I gotcho Pliable!"