A Relentless Sleuth

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Some of us love a good detective story full of twists, turns, and yet-to-be-solved crimes and mysteries. Little wonder that over the decades that novels, movies, and TV shows featuring these things have been popular. Movies like Murder on the Orient Express, Sherlock Holmes, L.A. Confidential, and Dirty Harry come to mind as examples many of us know. The list of TV shows offers a considerable variety from the benign Andy Griffith to Dragnet, Miami Vice, Columbo, Criminal Minds, Law and Order, NCIS, and Hill Street Blues to name a few.

There are also various series available through various streaming services that give us samples of such stories from other countries that capture our attention such as the popular series Foyle’s War. We become fascinated by the mind of the detective tracking the perpetrator and learn different techniques used to accomplish the task.

But what if we are the ones being tracked and pursued by something or someone who seeks to do us harm?

What emotions do we struggle with as we seek a path of escape from being captured? We haven’t committed a crime so why are we being pursued we wonder.

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The sleuth who relentlessly tracks us is as tenacious as the best bloodhound. Just about the time we think we have shaken off the hunt, we round a corner in a different scene and time and there it is again.

Many offer us advice on how to get free or avoid this menace but that proves to be easier said than done even though we may sometimes make good an escape from the hunt.

We’ve been marked as enemies because of whose we are and the sleuth that tracks us hopes to cripple us even if we are not destroyed by the ploys and tricks used against us.

Who or what is it that we are fleeing to avoid?


Some might proclaim that nothing frightens them while others live with constant anxiety that cripples them and leaves them alone in isolation. Others will have certain events or things where this menace appears, but none of us will fully escape it. The enemy of our souls uses fear in all its forms with skill honed from the beginning of time and he and his imps want us to believe there is no one to rescue us. And in recent years he has been ramping up his efforts using crime, war, disease, culture wars, and a pandemic all at once.

If we have a spiritual base, we have used all the tools in our toolbox to seek to combat these things with varying degrees of success. The assaults recently have been so intense and constant that most of us have grown weary in battle and as I was considering that, I remembered Much Afraid and what I learned through her story published in 1977 in the book, Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. It caused me to check my library to see if I still had a copy since the book has been out of print for some time.

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Tucked back in a corner I found the book whose pages were yellowed with age. It was worn from more than one or two readings years ago and I sensed that it was time to read it again to learn ways we can better defeat the enemy that stalks us.

Some of you may remember the story but many of you have not. One of the main characters of the book is one called Much Afraid. The preface of the allegory gives us a sense of the author’s purpose for the story and her passion for Christ.

“How deeply we who love the Lord of Love and desire to follow him long for the power to surmount all difficulties and tests and conflicts in life in the same exultant and triumphant way. To learn the secret of victorious living has been the heart’s desire of those who love the Lord, in every generation.”

Hannah Hurnard

The author reveals insightful truths about Much Afraid’s journey to the High Places that Christ (the Shepherd) invites her to go. They bear revisiting for me and perhaps you as well.

“But the High Places of victory and union with Christ cannot be reached by any mental reckoning of self to be dead to sin, or by seeking to devise some way or discipline by which the will can be crucified. The only way is by learning to accept, day by day, the actual conditions and tests permitted by God, by a continually repeated laying down of our will and acceptance of his as it is presented to us in the form of the people with whom we have to live and work, and in the things that happen to us. Every acceptance of his will becomes an altar of sacrifice, and every such surrender and abandonment of ourselves to his will is a means of furthering us on the way to the High Places to which he desires to bring every child of his while they are still living on earth.”

Hannah Hurnard

I hope you will join me as I share in the posts ahead how we (like Much Afraid) can learn the path to the High Places and gain hinds’ feet to take us there.

“The High Places and the hinds’ feet do not refer to heavenly places after death, but are meant to be the glorious experience of God’s children here and now – if they will follow the path he chooses for them.”

Hannah Hurnard

8 thoughts on “A Relentless Sleuth

  1. That’s an old favorite alright. I think we could all use a reading or re-reading. I especially liked this quote, “Every acceptance of his will becomes an altar of sacrifice, and every such surrender and abandonment of ourselves to his will is a means of furthering us on the way to the High Places to which he desires to bring every child of his while they are still living on earth.”

  2. One of my favorite books. No matter how many times I have read it, it still speaks to my heart.

  3. Thank you Pam for your wonderful post. I also treasure Hannah’s profound, insightful book regarding a Christian’s struggle amidst evil all around us as we seek our Lord’s abiding presence and fellowship. I have come back to this little book when I’ve faced discouragement over the years. She shows us that He is where the Joy is!

    1. It is one that we all go back to if we ever read it. The times we are living in bring it to mind once again.

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