Day Five: “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)
I will always associate this verse with the book, Hind’s Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard which I think I first read when I was a teenager. It is a classic allegory about the journey of our Christian walk. I can’t remember if my mom recommended it to me or if I picked it up off our bookshelf on my own, but I do know it really impacted me at the time.
The protagonist, Much-Afraid, is a lame girl who undertakes a perilous journey to the High Places after learning about them from The Shepherd. Not to give it away, but once she reaches the High Places, her name is changed to Grace and Glory and her faithful companions along her journey, Sorrow and Suffering, are transformed into Joy and Peace. I don’t know if, as a young teenager, I truly “got” all the levels to this allegorical story of the Christian life but I do know that I loved the book because of the great story-telling and timeless truth behind it.
One thing I also remember from the book, Hind’s Feet on High Places, is The Water Song, which is a song Much-Afraid hears being sung by a stream along her journey the the High Places. It speaks of the paradox in the Christian life as discussed in Luke 9:23-24 where it says “whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.” We would actually sing this song at my church growing up:
Come, oh come! let us away-- Lower, lower every day, Oh, what joy it is to race Down to find the lowest place. This the dearest law we know-- "It is happy to go low." Sweetest urge and sweetest will, "Let us go down lower still." Hear the summons night and day Calling us to come away. From the heights we leap and flow To the valleys down below. Always answering to the call, To the lowest place of all. Sweetest urge and sweetest pain, To go low and rise again
I did re-read this book as an adult and found some deeper truths in it I hadn’t seen when I was younger. (But writing this post makes me even want to re-read it once again!) One thing I think I have learned is that even the hinds don’t stay up on the high places forever but have to come back down off the mountain at times. And so it is in our own Christian lives – we can’t stay in our spiritual highs forever but have to come down and deal with the nitty-gritty of everyday life.
My church is going through Ecclesiastes right now in our “Fog of Joy” series. We are hearing that in the midst of facing the often difficult realities of daily life, God has promised to be right there with us. And that, as we learn to “re-frame” our lives from God’s perspective, we can find Joy in the midst of Sorrow and Peace in the midst of Suffering. Therefore I leave you again with this verse:
“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)