In fact, I looked forward to the travel between places, usually by train, because I knew I had guaranteed time of just sitting. That's when I read my two books. I got through 1 and 1/3 of them. I started off with Tim Kimmel's Little House on the Freeway, which quickly began to make some compelling arguments for slowing down one's family. On my second opportunity to read, I decided to mix it up and started the other book I brought, Hinds' Feet on High Places, by Hannah Hurnard (for more on these books, see two posts down). But after picking up this book, there was no putting it aside. It grabbed me in a big way. Poor Kimmel's book...I'll finish it another time.
Back to the allegory. Let me start off by telling you to what the title refers, in case you don't know. In the Bible, the King James Version of Habakkuk 3:19 says:
The Lord God is my strength,
and he will make my feet like Hinds' Feet,
and he will make me to walk upon mine High Places.
And here is a hind. I just found out on Wikipedia that it is a female red deer. (How did we survive before Wikipedia??!! I don't even know.)
So this allegory is about a girl named Much-Afraid, who embarks on a journey with the Shepard to reach the High Places, where the Kingdom of Love is found. From the place she lives, called The Valley of Humiliation, she can see the hinds bounding gracefully up the nearby peaks, but she herself has crippled feet and is plagued by terrorizing fears, represented by those in her family who torment her, such as Pride and Self-Pity. She cannot see any escape from her life controlled by Fear. Her family members are always trying to keep her from following the Shepard, but He pursues her, offering her the seemingly impossible: If she trusts him, he will heal her feet, making them like those of the hinds so she can go with him to the High Places. He promises her something she cannot yet understand as well: once in the Kingdom of Love, the plant of Needing-to-be-Loved can be uprooted in her heart and replaced with Love itself.
Without giving too much away (my friend is reading it right now!), that is a summary. You can begin to see how the verse in Habakkuk is the launching point for Hurnard's metaphorical-turned-physical landscape. Beautiful and captivating from the start.
I learned and was reminded of so many beautiful lessons in this book that I will have to just intersperse them into my posts here and there. It will soon be added to my list on the right under "These books changed me." But it wasn't simply a good book. God set me up. Little did I know that the timing, location, and material were chosen for me. I had that feeling, that strange connection as if it was written for me, or to me.
But to explain why, I need to tell you the circumstances surrounding my first exposure to the contents. I opened the book for the first time on a patio in Burgenstock, Switzerland. I had nothing but a cup of tea for company, and in the quiet, God got my attention.
This is a part in my own personal story - you know, the one God is writing in my life - where it gets really interesting. More to come soon...