As Grace and Glory (previously Much Afraid) continues with time in the High Places with the Chief Shepherd and her two companions, Joy and Peace (previously Sorrow and Suffering), she begins to recognize something she had not expected – there was so much more for her to see, learn, and understand. There was so much beyond the new discoveries on her journey to the High Places.
“It was now perfectly evident to them that there must be ranges upon ranges of which they had never dreamed while they were still down in the narrow valleys with their extraordinarily limited view.”Hannah Hurnard
How true that is of us as well! No matter how much insight we may have (or believe we have), we see so little. I cannot help but believe that Christ is so eager to share so much with us. Some of it we can peek into now, but so much more of it will not happen until we are with Him.
“For now, we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)
Can you imagine? Consider this through the eyes of Grace and Glory:
“She began to understand quite clearly that truth cannot be understood from books alone or by any written words, but only by personal growth and development in understanding, and that things written even in the Book of Books can be astonishingly misunderstood while one still lives on the low levels of spiritual experience and on the wrong side of the grave on the mountains.”Hannah Hurnard
The trips I have made to the mountains have forever changed me for how they remind me of the limits of my perspective. The seemingly endless peaks and vistas I saw in every direction I turn helps me to see each part of the trail differently.
I am reminded always of the greatness and grandeur of God and how small I am (any of us are) in comparison and yet, He sees us where we are planted just as the wildflowers that are snuggled between rocks and seemingly barren soil. I get a better sense of how much He would want us to delight in Him and see Him in creation. It’s there that He can best quiet our souls and harness our thoughts that race in so many directions. Photos I take cannot capture the reality of being there as all the senses come alive to the reality that we are a part of something so much bigger than we can fully comprehend. Just like Grace and Glory there is always more to see, learn and understand.
As Grace and Glory began to consider all this, she was eager to share new insights with the Chief Shepherd about what she had learned:
“First,” she said, “I learned that I must accept with joy all that you allowed to happen to me on the way and everything to which the path led me! That I was never to try to evade it but to accept it and lay down my own will on the altar…
Then I learned that I must bear all that others were allowed to do against me and to forgive with no trace of bitterness…
The third thing that I learned was 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..
Then she looked up into his face and for a little time could say no more, but at last she added, ‘My Lord, I cannot tell you how greatly I want to regard others in the same way.
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 obedience to your will can be transformed.
Therefore, I begin to think, my Lord, you purposely allow us to be brought into contact with the bad and evil things that you want changed. Perhaps that is the very reason we are here in this world, where sins and sorrow and suffering and evil abound, so that we may let you teach us to react to them, that out of them we can create lovely qualities to live forever. That is the only really satisfactory way of dealing with evil, not simply binding it so that it cannot work harm, but whenever possible overcoming it with good.”Hannah Hurnard
Oh, if we could only learn those things at deeper levels! How much more fruit would our lives bear if that would be our heart’s focus. Then we would truly be more like Christ, and it would be clear that the Holy Spirit is the One who is guiding us.
“22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”Galatians 5;22-23 (NIV)
Surely then we would also come to better understand the Apostle John’s words:
“And so, we know and rely on the love God has for us.
Just like Much Afraid learned on her journey to the High Places, we must offer Christ our heart of human love so He can transform it to be more like his. That could transform so much of the life we live now if we would take that step.
The transformation that happened to Much Afraid and became Grace and Glory caused her to want to return to the Valley of Humiliation for those who were wretched and miserable and without hope to see what she and the Chief Shepherd could do for them and as the book Hinds Feet on High Places ends Grace and Glory, Joy and Peace, along with the Chief Shepherd leap down from the High Places to share the Good News.