Photo: Ashlyn Elofson
“She bent forward to look, then gave a startled little cry and drew back. There was indeed a seed lying in the palm of his hand, but it was shaped exactly like a long, sharply-pointed thorn… ‘The seed looks very sharp,’ she said shrinkingly. ’Won’t it hurt if you put it into my heart?’
He answered gently, ‘It is so sharp that it slips in very quickly. But, Much-Afraid, I have already warned you that Love and Pain go together, for a time at least. If you would know Love, you must know pain too.’
Much-Afraid looked at the thorn and shrank from it. Then she looked at the Shepherd’s face and repeated his words to herself. ’When the seed of Love in your heart is ready to bloom, you will be loved in return,’ and a strange new courage entered her. She suddenly stepped forward, bared her heart, and said, ‘Please plant the seed here in my heart.’
His face lit up with a glad smile and he said with a note of joy in his voice, ‘Now you will be able to go with me to the High Places and be a citizen in the Kingdom of my Father.’
Then he pressed the thorn into her heart. 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. She thought of the Shepherd’s words, ‘It is so happy to love,’ and her pale, sallow cheeks suddenly glowed pink and her eyes shown. For a moment Much-Afraid did not look afraid at all.”
― Hannah Hurnard, Hinds’ Feet on High Places
I read this book 7 or 8 years ago, but this passage has never left my side. Our Horizon Hit is this book,by Hannah Hurnard, Hinds’ Feet on High Places based on Psalm 18:33. So my Lord intersects my mind, my heart and my sacred imagination workings like this. . .
My four girls gave me a painting by Vicki Wade and it stepped off the canvas and spoke to me of this book and Much Afraid’s journey into the high places. It spoke of my hinds feet and my journey into the high places with my Lord from where I am/from where you are. . .dear one. . .
My feet are so Hind’s Feet in their struggle to grip the foundation of my life. At times, I grip with such intensity to hold my stance that my toes go “white” with struggle. My heart/your heart is made for the high places of our Lord. So it is with my insight. . .There are deep piercings of pain in this illness/with the pain of your life and the loss each day and the loss of the future. As I conversed, in private whispers with our Lord on the pain. . . He spoke into it: It was not the loss that pierced my heart with impassioned pain, it was what I was meant to gain that pierced clean through being into another dimension. . .
This is what I “heard” from our Lord about the “pain”. . .”In the pain, it appears/it seems the pain comes from the illness or your circumstance. But the source of the pain is not the illness/it is not the circumstance. The source of the pain is love. The pain comes from how you know love can be, it comes from My dreams for you, it comes from your passion for True Life in Me. I’ve made your heart to know better than. . .to know deeper than. . .to know higher than. . .what circumstance drives through you. It is what you know of love from Me, in the sharp contrast with what presents in your life, that pierces your heart for the passion of what you long to experience through My love. The pierce of pain is for passion for MY LIFE in you. It pierces deeply for that is where love lives. It pierces deeply for that is where you experience Me to be. It pierces deeply for that is your passion for life in Me. The pain brings life to My best for you.”
And so I sit here with you, at our table of conversation and offer/ponder that is it not the disease that pierces me to the core of my being. . .it is my passionate love for life in my Lord, it is my passionate love for my husband and girls, it is for my passionate love for family and friends and the places of life we share in our Lord. I know the pierced pain in deeper ways now. The pain is not meant to rob, steal or kill the life out of me or you, it is meant to wake a passion that strikes Glory to flow the blush of Christ’s life into my/your cheeks and light to shine from my/your eyes through His light of love. As we share in our “piercings” (yes, God means to connect us to the Cross of Christ), we journey together in the places of pain that bring His life into what He means for good in all of us. And so we journey with hinds feet to high places in “the promised land.” And the greatest of these is: LOVE.
Dearest Father : May the piercings of our passions wake us to the love of life in our Lord and may the “blood” flow share life with one another. . .Amen (Let it be so.) twe
The Land of Promise, original oil painting by Vickie Wade: www.etsy.com/shop/VickieWadeFineArt