She walked singing across the first field and was halfway over the next when suddenly she saw Craven Fear himself coming toward her. Poor Much-Afraid: for a little while she had completely forgotten the existences of her dreadful relatives, and now here was the most dreaded and detested of them all slouching toward her. (Hinds Feet On High Places: pgs 31-33)
Sometimes, my life feels like a roller-coaster. I'm happily skipping along, feeling good about my accomplishments, feeling good about where I'm going and feeling good about what I've accomplished. I feel my Shepherd's pleasure. I've recently been in His presence and all the junk has fled. My heart feels like singing. My steps are light. And then here it comes... on of those "dreadful relatives." Call him Fear, Failure, Irritation, Loss, Disappointment, Conflict. They are all from the same family.
And like Much-Afraid, I find myself unable to stop it.
She looked right and left, but there was no hiding place anywhere, and besides it was all too obvious that he was actually coming to meet her, for as soon as he saw her he quickened his pace and in a moment or two was right beside her.
The dip happens so quick. The road takes a violent downward tip and your heart flees and your stomach is up in your throat.
I see it coming. Honestly, I try to avoid it, yet am paralyzed to move, to hide, to turn the other way and before I know it, he is right there, in my face, nasty breath, evil look and cruel words. "Who do you think you're fooling?" He jeers.
"You are nothing and will always be nothing." Blah, blah, blah... it goes on and on and I'm sure you've heard your own words. He knows so well how to push our buttons. He knows so well where the wounds are, how to poke and make them hurt worse.
She shrank away from him and shook with terror and loathing. Unfortunately this was the worst thing she could have done, for it was always her obvious fear which encouraged him to continue tormenting her. If only she could have ignored him, he soon would have tired of teasing and of her company and would have wandered off to look for other prey. In all her life, however, Much-Afraid had never been able to ignore Fear. Now it was absolutely beyond her power to conceal the dread which she felt.
That's the problem isn't it? I can recognize it, but why do I feel powerless to ignore it? Why can't I push the daunting thoughts, the nagging, the doubts away and focus only on Him and His truth? Why can't I call out His name in praises for if I would, they would flee.
Here she was, alone and completely in his power. He caught hold of her, and poor Much-Afraid uttered one frenzied cry of terror and pain....The Shepherd had approached them unperceived and was standing beside them. One look at his stern face and flashing eyes and the stout Shepherd's cudgel grasped in his strong, uplifted hand was more than enough for the bully.
Doesn't the Bible say--
But I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice. He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me. Psalm 55:17-19
He is always there. I know this. I KNOW this!! So why do I allow myself to fall prey to the bullying? Why do I let despair step on my toes? Why do I allow anger to wrap itself around me like a blanket, a smothering blanket. Why?
Much-Afraid burst into tears. Of course she ought to have known that Craven was a coward and that if only she had lifted her voice and called for the Shepherd, he would have fled at once.... She was overwhelmed with shame that she has so quickly acted like her old name and nature, which she had hoped was beginning to be changed already.
It is a process of change, I suppose. As we journey, like Much-Afraid, to the High Places, and with each step, the old does begin to fall off and the new shines through. At least I'm able to recognize those "dreadful relatives" as before I wouldn't have seen them coming. I see them now. I know who they are. And I do know that my Shepherd will come for me and with his "stern face and flashing eyes" He will send my enemies running.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths;
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the dark valley of death,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You welcome me as a guest,
anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love
will pursue me
all the days of my life
and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23 (NLT)
Amen and amen!
Excerpts from Hinds Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard from the chapter 1 " Invitation To The High Places"
If you haven't read this book, Friend, I highly encourage you to go find yourself a copy. I know of nobody who has read this book without having a life changing experience. Honest.