Health update: Last week I started having an acute upper back/neck spasm. So it’s back to Druggyland for me, which is like Candyland, only the candy doesn’t taste as good, but its effects are much more hilarious. Hopefully this pain will dissipate over time. For now, don’t expect any sideways glances from me. As for the long-term, I’ve been able to try one of the medications typically prescribed for fibro, with no effect. It’s a time-consuming process, so it’s unlikely I’ll be reporting any drastic changes.
It’s hard to be patient. It’s one thing to know where you’re going, when you’ll get there, and kick back until you do, but it’s endlessly frustrating when you can’t see the way, and you begin to doubt God’s promises. Yes, I still have more to share from Hinds’ Feet on High Places. Much-Afraid accuses the Shepherd when the path he has set turns away from the mountains and heads out into the desert:
“You said if I would trust you, you would bring me to the High Places, and that path leads away from them. It contradicts all that you promised.”
“No,” said the Shepherd, “it is not contradiction, only postponement for the best to become possible.”
Much-Afraid felt as though he had stabbed her to the heart. “You mean,” she said incredulously, “you really mean that I am to follow that path down and down into the wilderness and then over that desert, away from the mountains indefinitely? Why” (and there was a sob of anguish in her voice) “it may be months, even years, before that path leads back to the mountains again. O Shepherd, do you mean it is indefinite postponement?
He bowed his head silently, and Much-Afraid sank to her knees at his feet, almost overwhelmed. He was leading her away from her heart’s desire altogether and gave no promise at all as to when he would bring her back. As she looked out over what seemed an endless desert, the only path she could see led further and further away from the High Places, and it was all desert.
Then he answered very quietly, “Much-Afraid, do you love me enough to accept the postponement and the apparent contradiction of the promise, and go down there with me into the desert?”
As I read this, I hear my voice asking those questions of the Shepherd. I’m to turn away? I’m to wander through the desert? The road is long and hard, it’s got to be miles and miles before it could even begin to return to the mountains. Then I hear my Savior’s voice ask the pivotal question, “do you love me?” I see in my heart there is still the weed of self-love which, if not laid on the altar, will choke out the seed of true love. Our answer to the Shepherd’s question is more important than all other desires of the world put together. If we do not love Him, our love means nothing.
The Shepherd later takes the challenge a step further. An enemy named Bitterness had been lying to Much-Afraid, telling her the Shepherd would break his promises, and abandon her in some difficult place in utter humiliation. Strange, isn’t it, that it is in our most difficult times when we listen to the voice of bitterness? In such a time, the Shepherd asks what would happen if he was lying. Much-Afraid’s reply is:
“My Lord-if you can deceive me, you may. It can make no difference. I must love you as a long as I continue to exist. I cannot live without loving you.” [...] Right down in the depths of her own heart she really had but one passionate desire, not for things which the Shepherd had promised, but for himself.
-Hinds’ Feet on High Places
What is your reply?