“It will minister to you,” she said handing me the book.
She looked at me with the look that only mothers have and asked me to promise to read it before anything else. I thought longingly of the stack books I’d already set aside for my break from school for a moment, and about how vastly different our tastes are. But the look on her face gave her away as desperate, she knew I was hurting and somehow she was convinced this book would help. I couldn’t say no.
As I held it in my hands its fake worn leather look and gold print gave it away as a classic: Hinds’ Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard.
It was written in the late 1900s and when I opened the stiff front cover I expected a lecture— a “how-to-be-the-perfect-Christian-and-then-some” novel. But what I found was completely different.
The book is an allegory, and if you’re like me and forgot what those are, it’s a symbolic narrative story. The characters are all given names like Craven Fear, Suffering, Sorrow, and then there is the main character, Much Afraid.
I’ll admit it. I was wary when I realized the names where utterly simple in their symbolism. Seriously, the bad guy’s name is Fear? It felt like an insult to my intelligence.
The plot follows a crippled and physically deformed Much Afraid on her journey to the High Places where her Shepherd has promised to give her a new name and body. The journey our protagonist takes is a long one with many twists that she doesn’t expect, though you as the reader might.
As she is led up to the High Places, you see her walk through the various stages in the Christian walk and rather than see her walk perfectly through them you see her stumble just like you and I. The beautiful contrast is the consistent grace and concern the Shepherd shows her. He speaks to Much Afraid, but it has a way of piercing your own heart with truth.
I fear giving away too much and ruining the beauty of discovery so I’ll end my summary there.
The book is an easy read; it took me maybe four days to finish it.
I would recommend this book to anyone. Christian. Atheist. Buddhist. Saint. Sinner. Bill Nye the Science Guy.
Anyone and everyone.
It will minister to you.
This book may not be authoritative, but I have no doubt that it’s inspired.