Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Start for the High Places

Well, I found my book! It was right under my nose...on the family bookshelf. :)

Much-Afraid is beginning her journey to the High Places. Before she gets started, she has a visit from her Fearing relatives, who try most fervently to persuade her to marry Craven Fear. Much-Afraid is so weak that she can't defend herself against them, but just cowers in a corner. Thankfully, Much-Afraid's brave neighbor, Mrs. Valiant, is able to get the meddlesome relatives out of Much-Afraid's house. Much-Afraid feels ashamed for letting her relatives get the better of her, and worse than that, she missed the Shepherd's call as He passed by her house that night. She goes to search for Him, hoping He has not left her behind. Finding Him in a pasture, Much-Afraid humbly kneels before the Shepherd and asks Him to still take her with Him. The Shepherd is full of compassion and forgiveness, and they begin the journey to the High Places.

Parts of Chapter 4

In a very short time they were over the bridge, and had come to the foot of the mountains, where the path began the ascent of the lower slopes. Here great boulders were scattered all around, and suddenly Much-Afraid saw the figures of two veiled women seated on one of the rocks at the side of the path. As the Shepherd and she came up to that place, the two rose and bowed silently to Him.
"Here are the two guides which I promised," said the Shepherd quietly. "From now on until you are over the steep and difficult places, they will be your companions and helpers."
Much-Afraid looked at them fearfully. Certainly they were tall and appeared to be very strong, but why were they veiled? For what reason did they hide their faces? The longer and closer she looked at them, the more she began to dread them. They were so silent, so strong, and so mysterious. Why did they not speak? Why give her no friendly word of greeting?
"Who are they?" she whispered to the Shepherd. "Will you tell me their names, and why don't they speak to me? Are they dumb?
"No, they are not dumb," said the Shepherd very quietly, "but they speak a new language, Much-Afraid, a dialect of the mountains which you have not yet learned. But as you travel with them, little by little, you will learn to understand their words. "This," said he, motioning toward the first of the silent figures, "is named Sorrow. And the other is her twin sister, Suffering."
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...why, oh why, must you make Sorrow and Suffering my companions? Couldn't You have given Joy and Peace to go with me, to strenthen me and encourgae me and help me on the difficult way? I never thought You would do this to me!"
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 still trust Me, Much-Afraid? Will you go with them, or do you wish to turn back to the Valley, and to all your Fearing relatives, to Craven Fear himself?
She looked at him piteously, then said, "Do I wish to turn back? O Shepherd, to whom should I go? In all the world I have no one but You. Help me to follow You, even though it seems impossible. Help me to trust You as much as I long to love You.
As He heard these words the Shepherd suddenly lifted His head and laughed--a laugh full of exultation and triumph and delight. Much-Afraid stood quite still, looking up into His face, which now had such a happy, exultant look, the look of One who above all things else delights in saving and delivering. In her heart the words of a hymn, written by another of the Shepherd's followers, began to run through her mind and she started to sing softly and sweetly:

Let Sorrow do its work, send grief or pain;
Sweet are thy messengers, sweet their refrain.
If they but work in me, more love, O Christ, to thee,
More love to thee, more love to thee.

"Others have gone this way before me," she thought, "and they could even sing about it afterwards. Will He who is so strong and gentle be less faithful and gracious to me, weak and cowardly though I am, when it is so obvoius that the thing He delights most of all is to deliver His followers from all their fears and to take them to the High Places?" With this came the thought that the sooner she would reach those glorious High Places.
She stepped forward, looking at the two veiled figures, and said with a courage which she had never felt before, "I will go with you. Please lead the way," for even then she could not bring herself to put out her hands to grasp theirs.
The Shepherd laughed again and then said clearly, "My Peace I leave with you. Remember that I pledge Myself to bring you to the High Places at the top of these mountains and that you shall not be put to shame and now 'till the day break and the shadows flee away, I will be like a roe or a young hart on the mountains. "


Beverly said...

I'm so glad you found your book! This was beautiful and a reminder that He will remain faithful. Sometimes we have to go the way of Sorrow and Suffering, but it is ultimately for our own good and sharpening of our character. Thank you for posting this -- I truly was blessed!

Beverly said...

Oh - and thanks. I felt like I needed to switch to the new Blogger - I was still using a classic template. I got the new template from Have fun at the youth retreat!

Barbara C. said...

Thank you for such an edifying post! This book reminds me of Pilgrim's Progress. It always helps to be reminded that God's ways are so different than man's ways.... and He is infinitely wiser! We can never praise, honor & worship Him enough. His ways are so much higher than ours. What an awesome privilege to be His child!

Maxine said...

I agree with Barbara. This book is so much like Pilgrim's Progress. I really should read it because I love PP so much and I do have this book somewhere in the house. It's nice to see you writing these posts, Sarah. This portion of the book is so true and so touching. It doesn't take long before we find that out. And those words written by Elizabeth Prentiss say it so well. I hope the difficulties of this life always cause us to have more love to Christ.

~Lauraborialice said...

So How have you been??? I've been busy so sorry if I don't read your posts as often..

Neesie said...

New Post!!!!!