I've been reading 'The Pilgrim's Progress' to the kids at lunch time. I know my mom read it to us as kids, but I really didn't remember much of it at all. I've been realizing now, as an adult, how true to the Christian life this allegory is.
In today's reading, Christian, and his friend Hopeful, followed Vain-confidence to a dead-end. A fierce storm arises, and being terrified, they hide and fall asleep, only to be awakend by the giant Despair, who takes them prisoner in Doubting Castle. Despair beat them viciously and kept them under lock. Until Christian realizes he's been given a key, much earlier in his journey, called Promise, that will open any door in Doubting Castle. He had the key to his freedom all along, but he forgot.
Two weeks ago, on three different occasions, God brought me to the story of the Israelites doubt and despair after hearing the spies' reports of the Promise Land. (Deuteronomy 1) No matter the reports of how good the land was, or the encouragement of their leader, Moses, reminding them that God would fight for them and carry them through, they still chose to believe that God did not have the best in mind for them. They became discouraged and terrified. Because of their despair, and their complaining against God they were not able to enter the promise land.
I have felt strongly that God is admonishing me to stand firm, and not doubt, despite what things might 'look' like. Not to rely on my own strength, because therein is sure failure, but to trust His plans, His purposes and His promises. It almost becomes humorous when God says the same things so clearly over and over...apparently it hasn't completely gotten through this thick head yet...but I'm definitely starting to get it!!