Reviewed by Amelia Ray
Hannah Hurnard’s beloved allegory, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, originally published by the Christian Literature Crusade in 1955, has encouraged readers in their Christian journeys for decades.
The story begins in the Valley of Humiliation when timid, crippled Much-Afraid, a servant of the Chief Shepherd severely oppressed by members of her family, accepts an invitation from Him to go to the High Places and the Kingdom of Love.
To reach the High Places, however, the Shepherd warns Much-Afraid that she will have to undergo a physical and spiritual transformation that will, at times, be painful. He gives her two companions, Sorrow and Suffering, and He promises to be near to her when she calls. Together, Much-Afraid and her two companions travel through the highs and lows of the path to the High Places of Love.
More than once, they are afflicted by Much-Afraid’s family members who seek to discourage their noble pursuits and take them back permanently to the Valley of Humiliation. Pride, Bitterness, Self-Pity, and Resentment also seek to harm Much-Afraid while she is still within the borders of their land but, every time, she calls out to the Chief Shepherd, who rescues her as He promised, and she continues on her journey.
Although Much-Afraid has Sorrow and Suffering as her constant companions throughout her journey, she still faces daunting challenges: loneliness, injury, detours, loss, tribulation, and danger. At one point—and nearly at the end of her journey—she contemplates giving it all up and returning to her old, “safe” life.
“For one black, awful moment Much-Afraid really considered the possibility of following the Shepherd no longer, of turning back. . . She had been following this strange path with her two companions as guides simply because it was the Shepherd’s choice for her. Now she can make her own choice. Her sorrow and suffering could be ended at once.” Her discouragement is so intense that it seemed the Shepherd had not led her on this journey out of love, or certainly not for her good.
How many of us have felt this way at some point in our spiritual journey? The desire to give up seems so much more appealing than the hard path of following the Shepherd. But when faced with the reality of life without the Shepherd, Much-Afraid quickly realizes that He did have her best interest in his heart and calls on Him to rescue her from her despair.
When Much-Afraid finally reaches the High Places, she finds that she has completely transformed from the timid, lame little girl from the valley. The obstacles along her journey, in fact, changed her into a strong, confident person with a new name—Grace and Glory! The Shepherd truly gave her “hinds' feet” to be able to reach the High Places of Love.
This story resonated with me at so many points in my life. There have been times of triumph and of pain, of joy and sorrow, but through it all, the Chief Shepherd has always been there to guide and shape me to be more like Him. Hinds' Feet on High Places is a quick—but an encouraging and challenging—read for the Christian at any stage of their spiritual journey.
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