In the book, High Places, written by Hannah Hurnard we find Much Afraid is called to make a journey. She is told that she doesn t have to walk this path alone and she is given two companions to journey with her across the rocky terrain. One of her companions is called Suffering and the other is Sorrow . Already we begin to see what kind of journey she is being called to make. It is one that is narrow with twists and turns so that Much Afraid cannot see what is ahead of her. Rockslide crash down leaving mountainous heaps of sharp, jagged rock that needs to be climbed over. Much Afraid wails in lament, oh why can t I have Peace and Joy? As Christians, we often do not know what to make of the suffering and sorrow in our life. We much prefer a journey of ease with peace and joy flooding our soul. The prosperity gospel leaves little room or understanding for this kind of journey. How shallow is our understanding of God that we think with the right combination of prayer and action that we can make this go away. Facing our inner wounds and hurts is a hard path to face so we try to sweep it away by ignoring it. God in His wisdom knows that suffering and sorrow are often a catalyst for change. Suffering can move you towards God or away from Him. We need to allow Him to touch the shards of sorrow and to journey with Him on a journey that will change us completely. Jeremiah travelled on this journey of change. We find his story in Lamentations 3. I am a man who has seen affliction. He has caused me to dwell in dark places and He shuts out my prayers. He has enclosed my ways with hewn stone and my path is crooked. My soul is bowed down with me. Can t you hear Jeremiah cry out Oh why can t I have Joy and Peace ? Isn't that what we would be crying out as well? With all our strength we have tried to avoid this same journey and used every Christian tactic we know to change the circumstances of this path. Our soul bows down in submission to Him as our own self-sufficiency has come to an end. How great is the need within our heart. A need that only He can satisfy. We turn our eyes to look to Him for He alone is our help. Hope begins to spring forth in our hearts and we join our voice with Jeremiah s as he continues his cry: THEN I recall, my hope is in the Lord and it is His mercy that upholds me. He is full of loving kindness to me and His compassion is new every morning. It does not fail. My soul will wait expectantly for Him for my hope is in Him. Something very deep happened in Jeremiah and it will in us. We may forever walk with a limp but we now know that we are strangers and travellers in this land. Our journey is a path that leads to that heavenly home. Our soul waits for that time and our hope is in Him.
I first read the book you mention when I was a teenager. I have read it often throughout the years.
If you check out my bio, you will see that during my time here at CB, I have faced several life-threatening/life-changing illnesses. I have actually thought about the book "Hinds Feet In High Places" often during the past four years.
Have I walked with sorrow and suffering over these past four years? Absolutely! My illnesses threatened my life, disfigured me, damaged my skin, my nervous system, my brain and who knows what else. I know what it is like to have your immune system nearly destroyed and be racked with nerve pain which no drug can relieve. I know what it is like to lose your hair and be unable to shed "normal" tears. That last one does not sound like a big deal unless it happens to you. Then you understand how cleansing "normal" tears are.
Yes, I walked with Sorrow and Suffering and like Much-Afraid, I did not want to do so. I wanted to walk with Joy and Peace. I pleaded with God to not allow me to go down this road. The answer I got was that I would have to travel it... the question was, would I walk it with God or attempt to walk it without Him.
I chose to walk it with Him and like Much-Afraid I too was taken on an amazing journey. I'm still on it. It is too lengthy to describe here but I can truly testify that:
[q]You O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. [/q] Psalm 18:28 (NIV)
This has not been an easy road but I do not walk it alone and to tell you the truth, as I look back upon my journey thus far I would not have missed it for the world!