God And The Fact Of Suffering

“Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.” – Isa. 50:10

There is a very moving scrap of conversation near the beginning of the Pilgrim’s Progress. Poor burdened Christian had met Evangelist, and begged for help and guidance. Whereupon Evangelist pointed to the far distance, and asked, “Do you see yonder wicket-gate?” And Christian looked, and shook his head, and answered “No.”

Then Evangelist tried again. “Do you see yonder shining light?” he asked. And Christian peered away to the far horizon, and noticed something – one spot that seemed not quite so dark as all the rest; and he answered, “I think I do.”

“Keep that light in your eye,” said Evangelist, “and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate.” I fancy that if someone inquired of you or me, “Do you see the answer to the riddle of lite and the mystery of sorrow?” we should have to answer, as bluntly as Christian did, “No, I don’t see it.”

But if the inquirer went on to ask, “Do you see any points of light, any places where the darkness of the mystery is not quite so dark as elsewhere?” some of us, with Christian, would reply, “I think I do.” It is some of these beams of light that I invite you to consider now. It may be that if we keep them before us and trust their guiding, we, too, may “see the gate.” For the darkness in which we walk is not impenetrable gloom; and the night – thank God – has stars.

James G. Stewart

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