I am beginning to teach a class on John Bunyan’s classic, Pilgrim’s Progress. Christian is on a journey of salvation when he falls into the Slough of Despond, a quagmire or swamp. He was not paying attention and fell off the Way. In his spiritual autobiography, Grace Abounding, Bunyan describes what he experienced in his temptations to doubt. Several times he uses the term, ‘sinking’. The Slough of Despond is the allegory of his experience. In his soul, fears, doubts and discouraging apprehensions drag him down. The only way out is through the assistance of Help who points him to the Steps which God has set in the middle of the Slough to enable people to get through it. These step are the Promises of Holy Scripture.
Recently many of my friends seem to be in the middle of a Slough of Despond. They are worried about the future of the nation, budget deficits, government intrusion into business and health care. They fear the future. They are apprehensive of the Amelia Island Company, which owns the Amelia Island Plantation in which we live, having to declare bankruptcy and the effect that will have on our property values and club memberships. All these are real issues and merit concern and action to respond to them. The economy is bad, unemployment is high, the resort and real estate businesses are in trouble. Yet, worry will not solve any of these problems. All it does is to drag us down into the Slough of Despond.
We need to place our feet on the Promises of God. Let me give you a Step on which to stand from Hebrews 13:5-6
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence.
‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’”
As you step forward on the Way of Salvation, place your trust in these promises.