Much-Afraid and the Chief Shepherd
Every now and then I stumble across a book that just makes my heart melt in a I-love-this-book-so-much-I-just-want-to-glue-my-face-to-it kind of way. And it usually takes a special kind of book to do that. When you read a lot, books tend to blur together, but the special ones with that extra chutzpah, or whatever it is, always stand out from the rest. A little book called Hinds Feet on High Places from an unknown-to-me author named Hannah Hurnard fell into my lap via a friend.
This book came into my life at just the right time - hence it has that little something special.
This book's main character is Much-Afraid (Really, that's her name). She's a shepherdess with disabilities and many fears, but she's employed by the Chief Shepherd.
Over the course of the book, she goes on a journey set before her by the Chief Shepherd with two companions: Sorrow and Suffering.
This journey is to the High Places, where the Chief Shepherd promises to make Much-Afraid's feet like that of a hind (or rather deer), so that she will be able to dance and climb the high places with great leaps. But in order to do this, the Chief Shepherd has to plant the seed of love into her heart, and when it grows, then she will be ready to leap like the hind.
This little book is an allegory of the Christian walk, traveling with the Chief Shepherd and growing from the moment of salvation to full maturity. Much-Afraid's journey to the High Places coincides with her growing relationship with and trust in the Chief Shepherd.
The moment I realized I liked this book was the moment I met Much-Afraid. Why? Because Much-Afraid might as well be my name too. There were many times in the book when Much-Afraid would speak that I found myself resonating with her thoughts and fears.
The moment I realized I loved this book was the moment I met the Chief Shepherd. His love and care for Much-Afraid throughout the journey is like sweet honey to the soul.
Many times, Much-Afraid is an unwilling traveler, but as the Chief Shepherd comes alongside, encourages, and leads her while also showing his deep love for her, Much-Afraid blossoms.
My heart melted many times while reading this book, and that's why on the bookshelf in my mind, it has become a favorite.
So if you've never read this book, I highly recommend it. If you are like me and can really resonate with being a Much-Afraid, this book is a sweet reminder that the Chief Shepherd can and is changing you to make you leap like the hind. You just have to let the seed of love grow.
Also, here are some quotes that I just loved from the book:
“I think,” said the Shepherd gently, “that lately the way seemed a little easier and the sun shone, and you came to a place where you could rest. You forgot that you were my little handmaiden Acceptance-with-Joy and were beginning to tell yourself it really was time that I lead you back to the mountains and up to the High Places. When you wear the weed of impatience in your heart instead of Acceptance-with –Joy, you will always find your enemies get an advantage over you.”
“Love is beautiful, but it is also terrible—terrible in its determination to allow nothing blemished or unworthy to remain in the beloved”…”He will never be content until he makes me what he is determined that I ought to be.”
"The Shepherd laughed too. 'I love doing preposterous things,' he replied. "Why, I don't know anything more exhilarating and delightful than turning weakness into strength, and fear into faith, and that which has been marred into perfection."
6/1/2015 01:58:08 pm
So glad you liked this book! I loved this book when I read it as a new Christian. I am a very visual person, so this type of book really spoke to me. I had Sara read it in high school, but I am not so sure that she liked it as much as I did (maybe she was a little too young then). I still like to gather up a stone or some other memento from nature after I come through a really hard trial as a reminder that it may go into a crown someday. I also try to envision the pain and sorrow that I have to endure turning into joy and peace in the end (and it does!)
7/12/2015 10:31:16 pm
I didn't know anyone else had ever read this book besides me! Ha. I love it, it was very similar to Pilgrim's Progress in imagery.
7/16/2015 01:27:16 am
I've never read Pilgrim's Progress! I'm going to have to check it out now!
1/23/2020 03:51:00 pm
I read Hind's Feet decades ago. Just had the thought to read it to my twin girls, now 10-1/2. They are just about to start Year 6 here in Australia (the school year begins end of January). They inherited their "Much-Afraid" middle names from both their mum and me 🙂
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