The theme of this book is crucifying your own will for that of your Lord. Every acceptance of His will is an altar of sacrifice that helps us to progress and mature in our walk with Him. The first and longest portion of this guide is a simple summary of the book, with scriptural references for expansion on what the allegory is really attempting to say. But personally, I feel that the most important part comes in the few questions at the bottom.
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If you would know Love, you must know pain too. It was true, just as he had said, it did cause a piercing pain, but it slipped in quickly and then, suddenly, a sweetness she had never felt or imagined before tingled through her.
It was bittersweet, but the sweetness was the stronger. For a moment Much-Afraid did not look afraid at all. 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, just as was the case when you were actually ascending the precipice. I must warn you that I see your enemies lurking among the trees ahead, and 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.
If there is one thing more than mother which I should enjoy doing at this moment it is turning a jellyfish into a mountain goat. They offer themselves so sweetly and confidently and willingly, even if it seems that there is no one to appreciate them. Just as though they sang a joyous little song to themselves, that it is so happy to love, even though one is not loved in return. All the fairest beauties in the human soul, its greatest victories, and its most splendid achievements are always those which no one else knows anything about, or can only dimly guess at.
Every inner response of the human heart to Love and every conquest over self-love is a new flower on the tree of Love. Help me to follow you, even though it seems impossible.
Help me to trust you as much as I long to love you. The High Places of victory and union with Christ can be reached by learning to accept, day by day, the actual conditions and tests permitted by God, by laying down of our own will and accepting His.
The lessons of accepting and triumphing over evil, of becoming acquainted with grief, and pain, and of finding them transformed into something incomparably precious; these are the lessons of the allegory in this book.
You will be able to mount to the High Places swifter than eagles, for it is only up on the High Places of Love that anyone can receive the power to pour themselves down in an utter abandonment of self-giving. Perhaps that is the very reason that we are here in this world, where sin and sorrow and suffering and evil abound, so that we may let you teach us so to react to them, that out of them we can create lovely qualities to live forever. That is the only really satisfactory way of dealing with evil, not simply binding it so that it cannot work harm, but whenever possible overcoming it with good.
He did not come any nearer, having learned a little more prudence, and was not going to make her call for the Shepherd if he could avoid it, but simply stood and looked at her and laughed and laughed again, the bitterest sound that Much-Afraid had heard in all her life. For others it is equally his will that the same perfect union should be learned through the experience of learning to lay down completely this natural and instinctive desire for marriage and parenthood, and accept the circumstances of life which deny them this experience.
This instinct for love, so firmly implanted in the human heart, is the supreme way by which we learn to desire and love God himself above all else. My blemishes he will not see But loves the beauty that shall be. Remember also that it is always safe to obey my voice, even if it seems to call you to paths which look impossible or even crazy.
However, it had opened her eyes to the fact that right down in the depths of her own heart she really had but one passionate desire, not for the things which the Shepherd had promised, but for himself. All she wanted was to be allowed to follow him forever.
But for Grace and Glory it was the beginning of a new song altogether. Trust is one of the much beautiful things in the world. When I look at the trust in your eyes I find you more beautiful to look upon than many a lovely queen. There is this to be added, that her tears were all in secret, for no one but her enemies knew about this strange journey on which she had set out.
The heart knoweth its own sorrow and there are times when, like David, it is comforting to think that our tears are put in a bottle and not one of them forgotten by the one who leads us in paths of sorrow.
In the portion she read, Much-Afraid the main character is promised a new name by The Shepherd. I asked what name she was given, but my friend merely smiled and told me I should read the book myself. From that point on, the book has been in my mental queue, but the time was never right. I have no doubt this was the right time for me to read this book. While that could be said for this book as well, the underlying sweetness of the story more than compensated for it. Speaking of readability, the book is a quick read, but I found myself deliberately pausing after chapters in order to ponder the truths laid out. One such truth was that our greatest enemies on the path to the high places are internal - pride, resentment, bitterness, self-pity and fear.
Quotes from Hinds' Feet on High Places