Thursday, October 16, 2008

Lessons Learned

While rifling through a box of books stored in a cabinet, I came across these two books: Hinds Feet on High Places and Mountain of Spices, both written by Hannah Hurnard. The books are allegorically written about the main character, Much-Afraid (she is transformed into 'Grace-and-Glory' after the journey is completed), who is invited to journey to the High Places by the Shepherd. Her companions, Sorrow and Suffering accompany and assist her along the way. The book is listed as a devotional which I think may be a little bit of a stretch but it is certainly more powerful than a novel.

It had been a few years since I read it last and the book provided food for my soul and encouragement for my heart. The chapter entitled, The Desert of Loss, really hit home and the introduction of the character Acceptance-With-Joy was bittersweet.

The sequel is just as powerful. I have only begun to reread it, but essentially, it is the allegorical tale that "personifies unhappy, tormenting attitudes of the mind, heart and temperament" and how these "can be transformed into their exact opposites and can therefore produce in us the loveliest of all qualities." (Hurnard) It is the tale of the Fruit of the Spirit.

To share a little from the second chapter which talks about the Fruit of Love, Grace-and-Glory reflects:

"It is happy to love and healthy, too. It is utter misery to withhold love and to live only and always for oneself alone. I see that it is exactly as He says. Love must express itself in giving; must find a way to become one with others, just as He found a way to give His own life to us and thereby to become one with us! And all the misery down there in the valley is because the inhabitants are breaking this law of their existence without realizing it."

The chapter caused me to reflect on the most well known verse of the Bible, "For God so loved the world that He gave..." I know that in my own life, it has been the giving of one's self that has shown love to me: the affection/attention of my parents, the devotion of my husband, the kisses from my son. Powerful.

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