Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard is an allegorical Christian fiction novel. The title and theme for this book are from:
Habakkuk 3:19 (KJV), “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.”
My thoughts: This book is very different. I think it is one of those books where you either love it or hate it. It is written with a poetic style, which might turn people off. My daughters and I struggled a lot with the writing style. In the end, I came to love it, as someone older, I could relate a lot with the main character. It is considered allegorical, however, by definition, this implies a hidden meaning. There is no hidden meaning in this book as it is self-evident in its intent and doesn’t leave much for the imagination.
Synopsis: This story is about a girl named Much-Afraid Fearing and her spiritual journey from the Valley of Humiliation to High Places within Kingdom of Love. Here she wants to live with the Shephard. The Shephard is delighted that Much-Afraid has asked to live with him. The Shephard tells her that nothing “blemished or imperfect” can enter the Kingdom of Love, and thus she must journey through steep mountains that are both difficult and dangerous to be purified. To help her, he gives her two guides to accompany her on the journey named, Sorrow and Suffering. On this journey, they pass the Furnace of Egypt, the Forests of Danger and Tribulation, the Sea of Loneliness, the Precipice Injury, the Valley of Loss, and the Grave on the Mountains. Within each area she runs into Fearing family members named Resentment, Bitterness, Self-Pity, Pride, and Craven Fear. They try to sway her from her journey. She calls to Shephard many times as he promised to help her whenever in need, and he is faithful to that promise. Once they reach the top, they enter into the Place of Anointing. Here Shephard changes their names. Much-Afraid becomes Grace and Glory. Sorrow and Suffering become Joy and Peace. When she looks out over the Valley of Humiliation, she realizes that all those she thought malicious and mean are only sad and in pain. Grace and Glory, along with Joy and Peace, decide to go back to the Valley of Humiliation to share the happiness she has found with Shephard and to inform her Fearing family they also can change.
Discussion: As you can see, this story is clearly a Christian’s journey towards God. Every journey starts with a desire for God, continues with many trials and tribulation, and ends with God raising us up and making us new. Faith is not about doctrines, rules, or rituals (even though these are important). Faith is a journey towards our final destination. Each and every human will have a faith story. This story will have struggles. The entire Old Testament is an example of this journey.
To go on this journey, we must initiate it. Just as Much-Afraid asked the Shephard, we must turn toward Jesus and allow Him to change us: “God willed that man should be ‘left in the hand of his own counsel,’ so that he might of his own accord seek his Creator and freely attain his full and blessed perfection by cleaving to him” (1730).
I love the books Psalms, Proverbs, and Wisdom when I struggle. They seem to know what is in my heart and the best way to express it to God. Praying with Psalms is a great tradition passed down to us from Judaism.