I recently was given the book “Hinds’ Feet on High Places” by a new friend. She was telling me about what she was currently reading, and when we got to the protagonist’s name…Much Afraid…I knew this would speak to me. If you’ve never read the book, it’s quick and easy to understand. It really brings home the main ideas of Christ’s love for us and how we become who we were created to be.
Much Afraid lives in the Valley of Humiliation with her Fearing family – her cousins are Pride, Craven Fear, Bitterness, Resentment and Self Pity. When the Good Shepard offers to take Much Afraid up to the High Places, she struggles with the courage to even go with him. The book recounts her journey upwards.
So many things about this book stood out to me. Not in an earth-shattering, “never heard this before” way, but in a way that spoke to me at my very core. Who hasn’t felt Much Afraid? Who hasn’t had unneeded conversations with Pride, Self-Pity and Bitterness? One quote from the Good Shepard has nestled into my heart.
Much-Afraid, don’t ever allow yourself to begin trying to picture what it will be like. Believe me, when you get to the place which you dread you will find that they are as different as possible from what you have imagined […] if you ever let Craven Fear begin painting a picture on the screen of your imagination, you will walk with fear and trembling and agony, where no fear is.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve fallen victim to Craven Fear, Pride, Resentment, Bitterness and Self-Pity. How much worse do I make situations because of my fear? The Lord promises us he plans “to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Recently, I gave in to one small negative thought and it ruined a wonderful day. I had no rational reason to do it, and I knew nothing good would come from it. But resentment made me feel like I deserved to say this. I didn’t deserve to say it any less than my friend deserved the weight brought on by my bought with negativity.
The words of the Good Shepard rest loudly on my soul: You will walk with fear and trembling and agony, where no fear is. This is something I know to be true – God didn’t create us beholden to fear. The bible says it plain as day in 2 Timothy 1:7: “For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of self-control.” Remember, “the godly are as bold as lions,” they don’t cower to negative thoughts or challenging times. I let a negative thought win out over love and self control – exactly what Satan wants, which is exactly the opposite of what I was created to do.
I am Much Afraid, not by creation, but by choice. If you feel this way, you are not alone. Every day brings new opportunities to be brave and bold as lions for God’s glory. And although a situation may not bring wealth or power or praise on this earth, although the situation may be small and simple, each time we close the door on fear and negativity it is a win for God and that is worth more than anything.