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Hinds Feet on High Places - Hannah Hurnard

Much-Afraid

I want to take you now to one of the most important books in my life, Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Buy it and read it, again and again.

Hind's Feet on High Places has shaped my life almost more than any other book. It is the saga of Much-Afraid! Much-Afraid was afraid of everything. Yet it was she whom the Shepherd took to the High Places. And if she had not dared the impossible, she would never have known Him in the way He wanted her to know Him.

Do not ever despise your weakness. Turn away from those who claim, “Hey, if you were strong like me, you would be more ‘Christian.’”

Much Afraid walked with Sorrow and Suffering. She knew unending disappointment; she imagined that her crippled and blemished self had to mean that the Shepherd could never choose her.

I have used Hind's Feet on High Places in the school classroom many times, including just a couple of years ago.  As I was reading it at my desk, while my students were reading it at theirs, the same anointing of the Holy Spirit, the same voice of God spoke to me as has always spoken in tears through this little book. I said to my students, “God is speaking to me right now as I’m reading this chapter, let Him speak to you as well.”

I will quote a section for you here.

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After a little they came to a place which was very steep and slippery. Suddenly Much-Afraid had her first fall and cut herself quite badly on the pieces of jagged rock which had tripped her. It was a good thing she was so securely roped, for a great terror came upon her and she became so giddy and faint that had she not been tied she might have slipped over the edge of the path and been dashed to pieces on the rocks below. As this thought struck her she was so overcome with panic and trembling that all she could do was to crouch against the wall of rock and cry out to her companions that she was fainting and was in terror of falling.

Immediately Sorrow, who was in front, tightened the rope, then Suffering came up to her, put her arms around her and said urgently, “Drink some of the cordial which the Shepherd gave you.”

Much-Afraid was so faint and frightened that she could only lie in the arms of Suffering and gasp, “I don’t know where the bottle is — I can’t move even to fumble for it.”

Then Suffering herself put her hand into the bosom of the fainting girl, drew out the bottle, and poured a few drops between her lips. After a few moments the color returned to Much-Afraid’s cheeks, and the faintness began to pass off, but still she could not move. She took more of the Spirit of Grace and Comfort and began to feel strengthened.

Then Sorrow, who had come back to the place where she was crouching, gently shortened the rope so that Much-Afraid could take her hand and again they started to climb. In the fall, however, Much-Afraid had cut both knees so severely that she could only limp forward very painfully, moaning continually and halting constantly. Her companions were very patient, but progress was so slow that finally it became necessary to make greater speed, or they would not reach the top of the precipice  before nightfall, and there was no other cave where they could rest.

At last Suffering stooped over her and asked, “Much-Afraid, what were you doing when you left the cave this morning and went off by yourself?”

Much-Afraid gave her a startled look, then said with a painful flush, “I was looking at a flower which I had not seen before, growing in the rock by the waterfall.”

What flower was that?” persisted Suffering very gently.

“It was the flow of Bearing-the-Cost,” replied Much-Afraid in a very low voice, but some call it Forgivenenss.” For a few moments she was silent, remembering the altar she had built and realizing that she was not practicing this new and difficult letter of the alphabet of Love. Then said she, “I wonder if it would help my knees if we put a few drops of the cordial on them.”

“Let us try,” said Sorrow and Suffering both together. “It is an excellent suggestion.”

As they dropped a little of the cordial on both knees, almost at once the bleeding ceased, and the worst of the smart and pain died away. Her legs remained very stiff and she was obliged to limp quite badly, but they did go forward at a much better pace.

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We are weak, we stumble and fall, we are beset by fears on every hand. Sorrow and Suffering are our constant companions. Yet those who know His grace know that this is the great story of God; we, in our weakness and inability, are the Hero revealed. We are His flesh, and He cherishes and nourishes us with deep and tender care.