This chapter brought so much emotion out of me this week. I’ve been looking at my own “precipice” (a very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one) and wondering if I have the strength and faith to ascend the mountain. I am in awe, continually, as to God’s timing in my re-reading of this book. Every chapter so correlates to where I am on my own journey. I can almost feel the hands of Sorrow and Suffering on either side as they come along side of me on this journey.
I, like Much-Afraid, fall victim to negative thoughts when faced with the enormity of life. The “I can’ts” come out in a perfect melody, drowning out the voice of , “you can do it” more often than not. And it’s in those moments, where I lose hope and allow fear to creep in, that the Voice of Fear hovers and fills my mind with lies and false accusations much like Craven Fear did with Much-Afraid when she was overcome with the enormity of what stood before her.
Much-Afraid knew where her strength was, but she was too afraid to call out to the Shepherd, for fear that He would tell her that the only way up was by jagged rocks and cliffs. She would surely fall.
It’s not just the enormity of the mountain that keeps us form ascending to the High Places, but it’s the journey up — jagged, steep, rocky, fear of falling looming at every corner, dark. And we forget, all too often, that He promised to go before us, to make a way where there was no way. We fix our eyes not on the hope and promise of what lies above, but on what looms before us. We look at the vastness of the mountain and we say, “we can’t”.
By whose strength do we ascend?
Pierced by her two companions, Sorrow and Suffering, she cried out, in utter helplessness and despair to the One she should have called for at the beginning of the great precipice. And, like every other time she called, He was there instantly. Although she felt shame, He only looked upon her with love and acceptance. He reminded her again of His promise to her in the Valley of Humiliation,
You will make my feet like hinds’ feet and set me upon mine High Places. (Habakkuk 3:19)
The Shepherd explained that in order for her to have hinds’ feet, she must go by the path which the hinds use. Much-Afraid was beside herself, stating she did not really want hinds’ feet if this is the way He had called her to go. We do this to ourselves, rejecting God’s blessing in our lives when the road gets steep. But thankfully, the Shepherd knows us better than we know ourselves. And He knew that deep down, this is all Much-Afraid wanted.
The Shepherd leads her to the foot of the mountain and proclaims that there are new lessons for her to learn. And there, at the base of Mount Injury, Much-Afraid begins her ascent, tightly roped together with her two companions, Sorrow and Suffering.