I want to thank you for continuing this journey with me. I’m struggling to finish the book, but I will finish. My posts may be short as I’m on information overload and it’s just hard getting my thoughts down on paper. Thank you for your grace and our patience.
A few things stood out to me in this chapter.
First, Much-Afraid was out of strength on this journey. She was tired and worn out. But her companions, Sorrow and Suffering came along side her to “gird her up” for the continuing journey ahead.
But this time she was so weak and exhausted that instead of taking her hands, they came close up to her and put their hands beneath her arms so that she leaned with her full weight against them. Thus Suffering and Sorrow supporting her, Much-Afraid cast herself down into the yawning grave.
–Hinds Feet on High Places
But the Shepherd had already known she would be unable to go further on her own, and thus prepared support in advance for her time of need.
Secondly, as Much-Afraid stood at the bottom of the gorge, for the first time the Shepherd did not respond when she called out to Him. She was there to present herself as a sacrifice on the altar prepared for her by the Lord and for the first time on her journey she was truly alone. But only one thing mattered now, and that was to do the will of the One she followed and loved, no matter the cost. And as she turned to her companions to ask for help, the two who had supported her all along could not come to her aid now.
Much-Afriad must make this sacrifice alone, without the presence of the Shepherd and without the support of those who had carried her up to this point.
Lastly, Much-Afraid was aware of the struggle that she was about to endure as she faced the pain of human love being removed from her heart. So she asked the priest of the altar to bind her to it so she could not move. There, Much-Afraid repeated the promise which had been the very reason why she began her journey to the High Places:
The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet and He will make me to walk upon mine High Places. (Hab. 3:19)
The priest then bound her hands and feet and put forth a hand of steel right into her heart. And human love came forth with a sound of rendering and tearing. Nothing remained but ashes, and she an overwhelming rest and peace. The offering had been made and nothing was left to be done. When the priest unbound her, she leaned over the ashes on the altar and said with thanksgiving, “It is finished”.
Exhausted, Much-Afraid fell asleep.