I’m not sure if you have ever had a moment in your life that was just so strange that it had to be God. I had a moment like that a few weeks ago. Two people in my life (whose paths don’t really cross) both recommended that I read Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. So, I decided to order the book and start reading!
This book is sweet, life-giving, empowering, and very thought provoking. I could read this book five times through and still find new things that stand out to me!
If you are unfamiliar with the book, Hinds Feet on High Places is an allegory that shares a glimpse into what the journey and walk with God looks like.
The main character, Much-Afraid, has many flaws that cause her much shame and secret distress. For instance, she is lame and she has a crooked mouth. These blemishes cause astonishment and offense to everyone who knows that she is in the service of the Good Shepherd.
She is also a member of the Family of Fearings which cause her a lot of trouble and anxiety. Much-Afraid can’t seem to escape this miserable life she is living.
In the beginning chapters, you see Much-Afraid’s world be overcome by fear. She reaches out to the Great Shepherd in hope of something greater. Little does she know that this small moment will ultimately change the course of her life.
The thing with Hinds Feet on High Places is that it is such a deep book. Every sentence is full of a much stronger and deeper thought behind it. I would read this book in the morning and find myself thinking and processing what had happened in the story all day long.
I took so many notes and so much stood out to me. Honestly, it is going to be very challenging to share only a few of the most powerful takeaways from this book. But, I will give it a try.
1. The Journey with the Shepherd is All Trust Building
Before Much-Afraid followed the Shepherd to the High Places, her trust levels were very low. She did not have much of a relationship with the Shepherd before the journey began.
That had me thinking… why is it that we build trust during the hardest parts of the journey? Why can’t we seem to allow ourselves to know and trust The Good Shepherd before life becomes hard?
In this book, the journey is about building a good relationship with God. And when you think about all your other good, healthy relationships in life… you trust them. You learn to trust them by slowly giving them moments to prove they are faithful.
God allows us to walk through deserts to see that he is still good. He walks you through trials and tribulations. And in the midst of these trials, you can see he is faithful, true, and honoring to His promises… even when it does not appear that way.
It was sweet to watch Much-Afraid’s faith and trust in the good Shepherd grow. It wasn’t fast, but every trail, hardship, and simple hiccups in the journey led her closer to trusting Him fully.
2. A hardship from the outside can appear very different and sometimes it may appear even worse, then when in the midst of it.
There is no denying that life is hard. The Bible tells us that this is true in the book of John when Jesus says,
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”
In Hinds Feet there is the constant pattern of Much-Afraid being faced with these hardships. Every time she approaches one, she is almost paralyzed by fear. She is overcome with anger and confusion that this is not what the Good Shepherd wanted for her. And, she dreads the thought of walking head on into a hardship.
Not too long ago, I shared a blog about how You Can Do Hard Things. And this pattern of shifting your mindset and walking with the Lord into trials and tribulation, is seen and displayed in Hinds Feet many times.
In this book, we watch how Much-Afraid struggles to shift her mindset. We also see what the process of laying down your will to follow God’s will really looks like. But we also see her realize that being in the midst of the storm or hardship looks dramatically different than what she originally thought it would be.
The fears of the storm or hardship that originally had paralyzed her were only her imagination. She had not known what the reality of the hardship would look like. The fear of the unknown allowed her imagination to run wild.
Ironically, in the midst of the storms and hardships she was overcome with peace. Much-Afraid saw little glimpses of beauty and hope. The Shepherd was with her and he gently spoke truth over her every step.
Not to say that life is always easy, and hardships in reality are not hard. Because that is just not true. Sometimes if you let fear in, your imagination is worse. Take your thoughts captive and don’t let fear speak lies into your life.
3. God is a God of Beautiful Transformation
The journey that the Shepherd takes Much-Afraid on is a journey of transformation. The journey that God takes everyone on is a journey of transformation. I have never heard anyone who walks with God say that after that difficult season of life they just stayed exactly the same and saw no change in their life.
God uses those difficult seasons in our life to powerfully transform you and your life. Now, I don’t want to spoil Hinds Feet on High Places because the transformation that takes place in Much-Afraid’s heart, life, and world around her is absolutely beautiful and breathtaking and it leaves you in complete awe of the God of Transformation.
So much of the time Much-Afraid lived with shame and embarrassment. She felt guilt ridden and fear filled. At times she was so overcome with shame that she was not even able to look the Shepherd in the face. It wasn’t until she reached the High Places that she began to understand that the God of Transformation saw her differently than she thought.
Much-Afraid shares with the Shepherd, “I learned that you, my lord, never regarded me as I actually was, lame and weak and crooked and cowardly. You saw me as I would be when you had done what you promised and had brought me to the High Places, when it could be truly said, ‘There is none that walks with such a queenly ease, nor with such grace, as she.’ You always treated me with the same love and graciousness as though I were a queen already and not wretched little Much-Afraid.”
He saw her as a restored and beloved daughter. He saw her as she would be someday, perfect and flawless. She also learned that circumstances could be transformed too.
She goes on to explain, “Every circumstance in life, no matter how crooked and distorted and ugly it appears to be, if it is reacted to in love and forgiveness and obedient to your will it can be transformed.”
I have seen in my own life that there is no limit to what God can transform. He loves to take the broken heart and messy situations and transform them into something new, beautiful and breathtaking. I have found that hardships that seem impossible to comprehend often look different from within the midst of them. Perhaps, my original fears were just my imagination running wild. Or maybe now, I lean closer to God in the midst of the storm. Either way, I am grateful for this journey and walk with the Lord that is full of twist in turns. There is an exciting thrill that comes along with this journey. In fact, it is only exciting because I trust the God that is leading me. And every twist, turn, hiccup, and storm only grows me in my relationship with him.
As I flip through the pages in this book looking for the best things to share with you so many things are popping out to me! And I know I would be doing you an injustice if I tried to explain it all. If you are walking through life with anxiety, or you have fear of an unknown hardships, or you are curious as to what it looks like to have a true relationship with God, then this book is for you!
Hinds Feet on High Places puts this life we are living into a beautiful perspective. It gives you encouragement, peace and hope for the transformation that God has in store for your life. I would highly recommend that you to go read Hinds Feet on High Places with a cup of coffee, journal, and pen!