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If you asked me who my favorite author is, I’d probably say C.S. Lewis, but interestingly enough, my favorite book of all times is not one of his. That book would be ‘Hinds Feet on High Places’ by Hannah Hurnard. It is one of the few books that I have read multiple times and one that I read to my children as well.
It is an allegorical story of a spiritual journey, which of course makes ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’ come to mind for many people. However, Ms. Hurnard’s story line is of a different aspect of the journey than John Bunyan’s. I have given or borrowed the book to many people. I try to always keep a paperback copy available for that purpose and keep my prized hardcover safe at home. I have found that a small number of people had trouble identifying with the characters and storyline but the majority of people relate immediately.
The main character in the story is named Much Afraid and is a member of the clan of Fearfuls who live in the Valley of Humiliation. Much Afraid is offered an escape from the Valley and her impending marriage to a loathsome cousin by the Good Shepherd who offers to take her on a journey to his Kingdom of Love at the top of the mountains. Much Afraid agrees to leave and is given two companions to guide her on this difficult journey. To her dismay, these rather unpleasant looking companions are named Sorrow and Suffering. Out of trust in the word of the Shepherd, however, she puts herself into their care and begins the journey.
Much Afraid and her companions encounter many difficulties and detours along the way and she is often tempted to turn back. But whenever she reaches a place of total desperation she remembers to call for the Shepherd, who appears to always be in earshot and ready to respond. The difficulties encountered and decisions having to be made, without full understanding of the reasons for these experiences, parallel much of what we go through in life and the questions we ask of God during those times. Why does it have to be so hard? Which direction should I choose? Where will this path lead me? Can I trust your guidance? What if everything I believe about You is a lie? Much Afraid deals with these questions and more along her journey, and in the end, comes to some conclusions that not only bring her peace but also bring transformation to her and to her companions.
I will end my review of the book here, so as not to give away the wonderful ending. If you’ve walked any part of a journey that involved suffering, and required faith to get you through, then you will identify and be strengthened even further with the wisdom found within the pages of this little book.