April 9, 2013 § 6 Comments
When I was a child, I discovered a book that spoke straight to my heart, and has continued to minister to my soul throughout my life. Hinds Feet on High Places is the story of Much Afraid- a pathetic, useless cripple whose life is dominated by her Craven Fear relatives and her own inhibitions- and her journey from the valley up to the mountain top, and the changes she experiences along the way.
Currently, what comes to mind are the traveling companions that The Great Shepard sends Much Afraid to assist her in her perilous journey up the mountain. Their names are Suffering and Sorrow. And you know what? Today, I realize that this is the part of the story that Hannah Hurnard got all wrong when writing Hinds Feet on High Places.
In the book, Suffering and Sorrow are quiet, harmless companions that really don’t do much besides follow Much Afraid around and sometimes lend her a hand in the rough places. But, if you have ever experienced suffering or sorrow, you, too, know that this is a false portrayal.
Sorrow is not quiet. She doesn’t meekly follow you around and quickly disappear. She doesn’t remain silent and unobtrusive.
She is loud. Loud like a roaring ocean in your ear drums that drowns out all other thought and reason.
Loud like sobs and dry heaves and screams that come from the deepest recesses inside of you.
She consumes your life, steals your joy and takes her liberties with you.
Sorrow is raw.
Sorrow is blinding.
Sorrow is bitter poison.
Sorrow tears your heart out and leaves you bleeding, but doesn’t allow you to die.
Sorrow is a thief that doesn’t have to sneak around or hide.
She is bold and unforgiving.
Sorrow is lonely.
Sorrow is cancer.
I’ll never understand Sorrow. No matter how many times I have experienced her throughout my life, every single time I face her, she is a new creature. Old tricks and new alike, she never fails to rock me to the very core of my being.
So here I am.
Sorrow has come, suddenly, swiftly, mercilessly. Once again, she has driven me to me knees.
Though I may be knocked down, though I may appear defeated, what Sorrow has failed to recognize is that she has placed me right where I need to be. Face down, broken, unable
to stand, and in desperate need of a Comfort that cannot be found in this world.
You see, she has unintentionally delivered me straight into the arms of Jesus, the Great Comforter. She has stripped me of my foolish pride, and unknowingly enabled and strengthened me to crawl, in my brokenness and humility to the foot of the Cross, the very place where sorrow and all her schemes were defeated over 2000 years ago when Love conquered death so that Sorrow and Suffering would no longer wield the sting of death. She has forced me to seek refuge and strength in the love of my Savior.
And in that place, I find my hope, my joy, my peace, my victory.