“But, Much-Afraid, I have already warned you that Love and Pain go together, for a time at least. If you would know Love, you must know Pain too.”
The quote above is from Hannah Hurnard’s book Hinds’ Feet on High Places, an allegory dramatizing the spiritual journey toward joy and peace that includes suffering and sorrow too. The Shepherd (God) explained this concept to His young shepherdess Much-Afraid at the same time He invited her to follow Him to the High Places.
From Psalm 18:33, she said, “O Shepherd. You said you would make my feet like hinds’ feet and set me upon High Places.”
“Well”, He answered “the only way to develop hinds’ feet is to go by the paths which the hinds use.”
As she committed to her journey, Craven Fear and other characters like him approached her before she ever began. She felt ashamed that though she tried hard to resist them, she gave in and quickly returned to her old name and nature instead of calling out to the Shepherd.
“What is the use of even thinking of going to the High Places? I could never reach them, for the least little thing is enough to turn me back,” said Much-Afraid.
The Shepherd sympathized with her dilemma, so He gave her guides to help along the way. Their names would eventually be changed just like hers, but in the beginning she traveled with Suffering and Sorrow. It took many tests, trials, and tribulations to transform Much-Afraid into Grace and Glory just like they changed Suffering and Sorrow into Joy and Peace.
Even though there are no easy paths to happiness or shortcuts along the way, most of us try hard to avoid anything unpleasant … not realizing that our difficulties are exactly where God wants us sometimes and our weaknesses are exactly what God wants us dealing with sometimes.
They are the very things that bring us to our knees and to Him, and to our God-given names and purposes.
I hope you’ll read the book. For me, it was life changing. The story ended just like ours can when we follow Him to high places – happily-ever-happy because we’re helping others.
In This Together,
FYI: I’m blogging my book titled On The Other Side of Trying Hard: Healing, Happiness, and Holiness. Because the blog posts will eventually be an entire manuscript instead of stand-alone stories, some posts may leave you hanging. I hope you’ll hang in here with us anyway ‘cause a happy ending is coming. Each blog post title includes the chapter title first. The phrase in parentheses is one subheading within the chapter. I’d love to hear your reflections, questions, and suggestions. I’m over-the-top grateful you’re here.