For our kids bedtime stories we have always enjoyed spending time reading books with deeper meanings. We don't do it every night but we spend time each season reading some book...
We finished the book of Amos by Francine Rivers and now most recently we have picked up my personal favorite...
Hind's feet on High places.
The children's version. It's an allegory of the shepherd taking a young woman from fear to the mountain tops... the way is hard and the desert looms ahead. Pride tries to intimidate her and at times she thinks she won't make it on the treacherous path.
It always moves me as I read it and tonight as I read I just felt like I should recount this chapter for you.
I thought there might be someone out there in blog land that needed a touch from the Shepherd like I felt while reading this.....
Fair Warning: It's LONG!!!
Much afraid is the main character and the shepherd has taken her from her fearing relatives. This part of the book she is walking through the desert and loneliness.
Chapter 3After meeting Pride, Much afraid's poor crooked feet hurt her even more, and the journey to the High Places was slow and painful. As time went on, she still held on tightly to her two helpers, Sorrow and Suffering, and gradually they began to make better progress.
Then one day the path turned a corner, and to Much Afraid's great surprise, she saw a desert in front of them. As far as the eye could see there was sandy land.
Sorrow and suffering started to take her on a steep path leading down toward the desert, but Much Afraid stopped firmly. "we mustn't go down there. The Shepherd has called me to the High Places!" Still they showed her she was to follow them down the steep pathway.
Much Afraid looked to the left and right, but there was no other path. All around them were rocky cliffs as straight as walls.
"I can't go down there!" she cried with fear. "He called me up to the High Places, not to an empty desert!" She lifted her voice and called loudly, "Shepherd, come to me! I need you! Come and Help me!"
In a moment He was there, standing beside her.
"Shepherd I can't understand this. The helpers You gave me are trying to lead me toward that desert, turning right away from the high places! Make a way for us, Shepherd, as You promised!"
He answered her very gently. "That is the path, Much Afraid, and you are to go down there."
"Oh No!" she cried. "You can't mean it! You promised to take me to the High Places!"
"Much Afraid, do you love Me enough to trust Me? Will you go down there with Me, even though the path seems to lead you away from what I have promised?"
She sank to her knees at His feet, sobbing as if her heart would break. "I do love you. You know I do. Oh, forgive me because I can't help crying. I will go with You into the wilderness. I will trust You to choose for me what is best."
So there Much Afraid built her first altar, a little pile of broken rocks. With the shepherd standing close beside her, she laid down on the altar her own desires. A little spurt of flame came from somewhere, and then there was nothing but a heap of ashes. That is, at first she thought there was nothing. The Shepherd told her to look closer, and there among the ashes was a little stone.
"Pick it up and take it with you," said the Shepherd, "to remember this altar that you built and all that it stands for". He handed her a little bag. Much Afraid picked up the stone from the ashes, dropped it into the little bag, and put it away carefully.
Much to her delighted surprise the Shepherd walked with them down into the desert. He began to sing a song from the Great Book, and Much Afraid felt her pain begin to melt away.
They reached the desert quickly because Much Afraid leaned on the Shepherd. By evening they were at one of the great pyramids. At its base were some little huts where they would spend the night. At sunset, when the sky burned fiery red over the western side of the desert, the Shepherd led Much Afraid away from the huts to the foot of the pyramid.
"Much Afraid", He said, " all of my servants had to pass through the desert on their way to the High Places. Here they have learned many things which they could never have learned any other place".
Suddenly the desert was full of people, like an endless parade. Some of them Much Afraid knew from reading their stories in the Great Book. There was Abraham and Sarah, his wife. They had been strangers in a strange land. Then there was Joseph, whose brothers had turned against him. One after another the crowd of people stretched across the desert. The last one in line held out his hand to her, and Much Afraid joined those faithful servants who had walked through the wilderness.
After this the Shepherd took her back to the huts to rest for the night. In the morning, the Shepherd called Much Afraid again. He led her to a little door in the wall of the pyramid and took her inside. There was a hallway that led to the center, and from there a spiral staircase went to the floors above.
But the Shepherd opened another door on the ground floor, and they went into a large room. Piles of grain were everywhere, except in the middle. There in the open space men were threshing the grain. Much Afraid watched how the grains were first beaten until they crumbled to pieces. Then they were beaten with stones until they became the finest flour.
"It is the same with My people," The Shepherd said gently, "They too must be threshed and ground into the finest powder so they can become like bread for others. It is a painful process."
After this the Shepherd took her back to the central room, and they climbed the staircase. There on the second floor was another, smaller room. In the center was a man making pottery. He was working with soft clay upon a potter's wheel, making a beautiful bowl.
As they watched, the Shepherd said, "I work with My people as though they are clay. I mold and shape them to be like beautiful vessels. I want to do that with you, Much Afraid. I want you to be as clay in My hands."
Last of all He took her up the stairway to the highest floor. There they found a room with a furnace in which gold was being refined. The gold was heated until it was very, very hot. Everything inside the gold that was not good floated to the top and was removed, so all that was left was pure gold.
As Much Afraid stood fearfully looking at the fire, the Shepherd smiled and said,"My rarest jewels and My finest gold are those who have gone through the fire." Then He took her hand in His and continued, "So don't be surprised when you are tested by a fiery trial. Rejoice and be happy!"
"Rejoice and be Happy." The words echoed in her mind as Much Afraid walked back down the staircase, still holding the Shepherd's hand. Then she remembered some other words she had read once in the Great Book. " He knows the way I take. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as pure gold". The words were comforting, and she spoke them over and over in her heart.
They stayed in the desert huts for several days. Time was spent resting and restocking their supply of food and water. On the last morning, Much Afraid made a lovely discovery as she went for a walk. Behind one of the huts was an old pipe connected to a water tank. In the pipe was a tiny hole from which drips of water fell one by one. At the place where they landed was the first growing thing she had seen in the desert. It was a beautiful little golden flower.
Much Afraid knelt close to it and asked softly, "What is your name, lovely flower?"
The tiny plant seemed to answer at once with a voice as golden as itself." I am acceptance with joy."
The words of the little flower echoed in her mind and she said to herself, "I too want to be Acceptance-With-Joy. Whatever He lets me go through, I want to trust Him and allow Him to have His way with my life. And I want to do it with joy in my heart."
Then she stooped down and picked up a pebble that was lying in the sand beside the flower and put it into her little bag with the first altar stone.
We are going through a desert time right now.
Our family would welcome your prayers.
If you are experiencing a desert time as well please leave me a comment so we can pray for each other. Or you can send me a private email.
We were never meant to walk this road alone.
The Shepherd who called us will continue to hold us! And what he is making us to be gives me hope to continue the journey....