Most if the time, most of us just want to be happy and comfortable. That is what we look for and strive for and pray for. That is how we define “being blessed.” Comfortable and happy.
Life is very rarely a comfortable and happy affair. When the journey leads us to trial after trial, we begin to wonder what is wrong. Are we on the wrong track? Why isn’t God answering our prayers? Does God really love us as much as he says that he does? Will we ever see our dreams come true?
I love the book, Hind’s Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. I have read it many times and each time, I relate to it more and more. I find great comfort in realizing that Hannah Hurnard experienced her Christian walk much the same way that I have. Much the same as every Christian, I suspect.
When Much-Afraid started her trek to the High Places, she knew that the journey would be difficult. She had to climb the mountains with her twisted, lame feet. She knew that to ever achieve the Shepard’s goal for her; it would take a bit of the supernatural. But she never guessed what was in store for her.
The Shepard chose two companions to help her since she was lame and very fearful. They never left her side and assisted her every step of the way. They were Sorrow and Suffering. Instead of climbing into the mountains, the path led the three travelers to the Desert, then the Shores of Loneliness, the Precipice of Injury, the Forest of Danger and Tribulation, the Mist, the Valley of Loss, the Floods, and the Grave. By the time Much-Afraid had reached the Grave, she was no longer the same girl who had started at the foot of the mountains. She had suffered much, but she had also spent much time with the good Shepard. She laid herself and her dreams on the alter. She could see that she would never reach the high places, but she was happy to obey her beloved Shepard.
She did not anticipate the glorious resurrection that would occur, healing her lame feet and changing her from Much-Afraid to Grace and Glory! Though it was the Shepard who was her prize, the High Places became hers as well, and it was more glorious than she ever imagined!
I hope I make it to the High Places someday. I hope that all the dreams that I have carried in my heart come to pass, yet I have laid them down to say that God is enough.
I could lose everything and suffer great tragedy, yet there is only one thing that I can never afford to lose…my faith. My faith is my life and my hope. Without my faith in a good Father, I would be dead while I still lived…and then be a dead shell for all eternity. My faith, which is worth more than gold (1 Peter 1:7), is what God in his infinite wisdom is after.
The trials that purify my faith make it feel as though his goodness and mercy are far away. Yet his Goodness and Mercy are always following me! God’s goodness and mercy will follow me all of the days of my life. (Psalm 23:6) Follow means to aggressively pursue, run after, chase. God’s goodness is hunting me down. At times I wish his goodness would leave me alone and let me be comfortable and happy for a little while. It is chasing me like a massive hunting dog; pouncing on me, knocking me down, and licking me all over with messy, wet doggy kisses. I may struggle and mourn and wail. But it is God’s irresistible Goodness that won’t let me go. It will not let me stay the way I am now because God loves me too much.
“Love is beautiful, but it is also terrible – terrible in its determination to allow nothing blemishing or unworthy to remain in the beloved.” –Hinds Feet on High Places
Being comfortable and happy would be great…for a short while. But the purification of my faith is worth so much more. To become like Jesus and to enjoy a closer walk with him is worth any trial it takes to get me there. To know his great love for me is my prize and great reward, and it brings a deep and abiding joy.
“Multiplied” is a great worship song for those of us who are being hunted down by his love!