In the book, Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, the main character, Much Afraid, is led by the Chief Shepherd out of the Valley of Humiliation and starts on a journey to the high places. She has lived her life feeling afraid, but He promises her a new nature and healing for her crippled feet so that she is able to go “leaping on the mountains and skipping on the hills” with Him. There are many trials and tests along the way as she travels up hills and down into deserts. In every place, she learns a lesson about love, and in every place, when she calls for Him, the Chief Shepherd appears to help her. Her companions are Sorrow and Suffering who actually help her in the climb. Sometimes she catches a glimpse of the High Places in the distance only to find the road has turned and appears to be leading away from the destination for which she longs.
Near the end of the journey, after a leap of faith, she finds herself on a stone table as the Chief Shepherd comes to remove from her the need for human love and approval that has been the cause of so much fear. Much Afraid finds that it is all completely removed, and is replaced by a new love and trust for her Shepherd.
When she arrives finally in the High Places, He gives her a new name, Grace & Glory, a new nature as love has matured in her, and healed, strong feet for now she stands on a sure foundation. She is able to “go leaping on the mountains and skipping on the hills” with Him in freedom and joy.
As a believer, my journey has been like Much Afraid’s. I grew so tired of the Valley of Humiliation and a life driven by fear. I desired to know more of God and Jesus my Savior. So what did the Lord do for me? He has walked me through a journey that has seen many days of joy, but many days of trial and testing to show me who He is – and my complete need of Him. I needed His healing and care. I needed to more fully know His love. Through everything, every experience, every day, He has never let me down. The Lord God has been so very close, protecting, comforting, and leading me forward even when I could not see the way.
Maybe your experience has been similar. Maybe you are in a place where, without God moving Heaven and earth, you don’t see how things will work out. Friends and family are worried and wonder about your choices. You were brave and took the leap of faith when the Shepherd said “Jump!” You have done all that YOU can do, and now you wait. You wait for Him to show you who He is in the place where you are.
He has not forgotten you and completely knows your situation, every circumstance, every fear and expectation. He knows your hopes and dreams and is allowing this time to further strip away your need for anything other than Himself. But He is silent. And it feels dark and you can’t see your hand in front of your face.
If God never took me to my limits, if He never challenged my faith, it would not grow. If He never allowed me to be uncomfortable or in pain, I would not change. Every place on the journey has taught me that He is there. And not only is He there, but He has His cheek to mine and is whispering His comfort into my ear. When I stop struggling and let myself rest against Him, I feel His comfort and hear His words to me.
“Who is among you who [reverently] fears the Lord, who obeys the voice of His servant, yet who walks in darkness and deep trouble and has no shining splendor [in his heart]? Let Him rely on, trust in, and be confident in the Name of the Lord, and let him lean upon and be supported by his God.” Isaiah 50:10
When there is no evidence of a coming rescue, no revelation that tells you which way to go, and when darkness seems thickest, it is then that you must remember how He has led you before. It is then that you choose and learn to rely upon His NAME and not what your eyes see. Who has He shown Himself to be? What kind of Father does the Word of God tell you He is? Is He not what you thought? Could He have forgotten you? Go to the Word!
“You are the one I have chosen, that you may know Me, believe Me, and remain steadfast to Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.” Isaiah 43:10
“I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King. I am the One who makes a way through the sea and a path through the mighty waters.” Isaiah 43:15-16
He is doing a new thing in you! He will make a way!
“Do not earnestly remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive it and know it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19
My friend, Judy, says your faith becomes a mustard seed when you have nothing left to give, but there is still that little bit of faith that little something still there that won’t let you give up. No matter what everyone says. You know Jesus will be there and His grace will be sufficient for your needs. He will answer, maybe not as we would like but, He will answer.
So take heart, dear one. He is near. Can you feel His breath upon your cheek? Continue to let your whole weight rest upon Him, the weight of every care, for He will not leave you. You have His word on that! Watch, for you will see Him bring you through yet again.
“The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds feet that will make me walk [not stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!” Habakkuk 3:19
(c) Feb. 2010, Robin Lawrimore, a pilgrim