“How his burden had got on his back in the first place, and why nobody else had burdens–as happens in dreams–we are not told. But never had he been so eager as he was now to be rid of it. And that–did he but know it–was half the battle…At the foot of a hill, he passed an open tomb. Then up again, upon a little knoll, he found himself beneath a wayside cross. And as its shadow fell across him, so suddenly the burden, slipping from his shoulders, fell from off his back. It tumbled down the hill. It tumbled into the mouth of the tomb. It was never seen again. Christian kept feeling behind his back. He couldn’t believe it. For it was very surprising to him that the simple act of gazing at the cross had set him free, and his burden of guilt was gone.”
I was pregnant with the twins when Adam’s knowledge won us a children’s version of Pilgrim’s Progress called A Dangerous Journey. Little did I know then how much our boys would enjoy it and how many conversations it would spark. They do have a little trouble with it not being literal and have asked on more than one occasion if you could walk to heaven and have difficulty comprehending that the Slough of Despond and Doubting Castle and the other places are spiritual battles in our life here rather than physical places. But the last few days as we have read it again a new conversation has started regarding Christian’s burden.
Jack: Why does he have that burden?
Me: Because he knows that he is sinful and he feels guilt over his sin.
Jack: Why don’t the others (pictured in the book) have burdens?
Me: Maybe they don’t know that they are sinful. The burden comes when you know that you sin against God and you can’t help yourself. That burden isn’t a big pack that is tied to your back, but you feel it in your heart.
We looked ahead to when Christian walks into the shadow of the cross and his burden falls off and rolls into the empty tomb.
Jack: I want a burden.
Jack: So God can take it off.
This conversation was on Saturday and it has changed the way I pray for my children. I pray for them now, that they would know their burden and feel its weight so they can rejoice in the deliverance God has provided for them through the death and resurrection of Jesus. That they would know how much they have been forgiven, that they may love much. And I pray for myself that I will remember greatness of the gospel.
Tonight we read the chapter when Christian is freed of his burden and as I tucked Gabriel into bed and prayed for him he told me he wanted to pray. This is what he said, “Pray God give burden off, and thank you for my cow (a stuffed one). Amen.” Then he said, “Me only pray two things.” That is enough, my sweet boy. That is enough.