Pilgrim Progress Map
1 Peter 1:3-6 - In God’s great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in Heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials…
Even though believers hold a passport to Heaven, we still have many stops along the way before we reach our final destination. God is refining us through hardship and struggle. We can actually rejoice that every trial we face on earth has a redemptive purpose. Nothing ever happens to us without first passing through the loving heart of God.
In John Bunyan’s classic book The Pilgrim’s Progress, through beautiful allegory and symbolism, the author describes the journey of a man named “Christian” passing through various experiences (see the map) he must encounter in order to reach the Celestial City.
(NOTE: If you have never read The Pilgrim’s Progress, secure a modern translation and read it. It is so encouraging!) Some of Christian’s stops along the way bring pain and hardship, and require courageous faith in order to move forward. Others are wonderful places of rest and refreshment. But all are necessary experiences in order to reach the ULTIMATE DESTINATION… the Celestial City (Heaven).
As Christ followers, no matter where we are in our journey through life, we are assured that our Father in Heaven will guide us through each step, provide for all we need, keep us safe, and ultimately welcome us into our Heavenly home. Take a few moments and reflect on your journey so far. Add places to your passport where you have journeyed in your Christian life (i.e., serious trials, painful chapters, times of encouragement, major spiritual breakthroughs, etc.). Now focus on these last twelve months. What has God been trying to teach you during this last year? Talk to Him about lessons learned.
Before leaving this station, spend some time in prayer rejoicing in how God has carried you through times of hardship and suffering. Rejoice that even through hard trials, God is forging something beautiful in you. Thank Him for His constant love, presence, and provision through everything.
Psalm 84:5 - Blessed are those whose strength is in You (God), whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.