Friday, May 08, 2009

To the High Places

Last week (or so) I shared with you of my brother-in-law's sudden death in a car accident. As many of you are also aware, my dad is battling cancer and the prognosis isn't good. I will be going to Texas again next week to be with my family, but will be leaving my boys behind. It's going to be a long week. I trust it'll be a good week, but I'm certain it'll be a long week in many respects.

I also mentioned that I would be spending some time reading Hinds' Feet On High Places and I have read it over the course of the past two weeks. The book is so deeply personal that I can't seem to review it just yet. To review it is to peel scabs. It can't be done at present. But I will reread it again many times over in the next few weeks, I am certain.

I can't review it in total but I can share a little.

If you haven't read the book, this is the journey of Much-Afraid who chooses to follow The Shepherd to the High Places. It is an allegory and a good one at that. At the present moment, it is speaking to every part of me and where I am at on my own personal life journey. At the beginning of the book Much-Afraid is faced with the basic choice of whether or not to follow the Shepherd. Her family at home taunts her and harasses her, making it difficult for her to move past the fear and follow after the Shepherd. She knows she must make a choice to ignore her own fears in order to start the journey. We find her paused at her own front doorway, afraid of her cousin, Craven Fear in the following passage:

"Opening the door, she went out into the darkness. A hundred Craven Fears lurking in the lonely street could not have deterred her at that moment, for the pain her in heart swallowed up fear and everything else and drove her forth. So in the dark hours, just before the dawn, Much-Afraid started off to look for the Shepherd.

She could not go quickly because of her lameness, but limped along the village streets towards the open fields and the sheepfolds. As she went she whispered to herself, "O Shepherd, when you said that Love and pain go together, how truly you spoke."


When she meets up with the Shepherd, he gives her two guides to help her along with her journey so that she will not have to face the treacherous mountain all alone. The name of her two guides? Suffering and sorrow.

"Poor Much-Afraid! Her cheeks blanched and she began to tremble from head to foot. She felt so like fainting that she clung to the Shepherd for support.

"I can't go with them," she gasped. "I can't! I can't! O my Lord Shepherd, why do you do this to me? How can I travel in their company? It is more than I can bear. You tell me that the mountain way itself is so steep and difficult that I cannot climb it alone. Then why, oh why, must you make Sorrow and Suffering my companions? Couldn't you have given me Joy and Peace to go with me and encourage me and help me on this difficult way? I never thought you would do this to me!" And she burst into tears.

"A strange look passed over the Shepherd's face as he listened to this outburst, then looking at the veiled figures as he spoke, he answered very gently, "Joy and Peace. Are those the companions you would choose for yourself? You remember your promise to accept the helpers that I would give, because you believed that I would choose the very best possible guides for you. Will you trust me, Much-Afraid?"

Will I trust my Shepherd even though my companions of late have seemed less than joyful?

As I was typing this up, a very dear friend of mine sent me the following clip on Youtube. It concludes everything I'm trying to say here very well.

And yes, Lord, I believe You now. For every time I wipe a tear or blow my nose, I do. I really, really do.


Sherry said...

Oh, Carrie, I am praying for your and yours.

Where in Texas, if I may pry? I live in Houston.

Islandsparrow said...

Dear Carrie,

I am so sorry to hear of your brother in law's death. You have my sympathy.

I will be praying for you as you go to be by your father's side. May the Lord surround you with peace and courage in the midst of suffering. I know myself, that I have learned more, and grown more, during times of suffering than in other time. It is never easy. But the Lord is with us.

I will be picking that book up again. Thanks for the reminder.

love to you

Lisa Spence said...

To praise Him in the midst of heartache, to say Yes, Lord, whatever He asks...a miracle of His grace. Beautiful book. Beautiful "review." Amazing faith. May He continue to strengthen you and sustain you--He is indeed faithful.

Anonymous said...

I have just discovered your site.
Enjoyed your review of Hinds Feet in High Places in the spring of 2009. With it you added 3 hymns which are no longer available on YouTube. Is there any way that you could provide the Titles of those hymns?
Grateful viewed Ingrid

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