During my quiet times these mornings, i'm reading through several books at one time. Steve and i together read out of "Jesus Calling" and "My Utmost for His Highest" each morning and then we read one chapter a day from "Hinds Feet on High Places". We are indulging ourselves in extended times with God every morning --- we're taking seriously those words in Matthew and Jeremiah.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7
"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
And as God, the Sculptor, the Potter, the Master Weaver forms us more fully and re-makes the parts we have shattered in our humanness ---- i am endlessly amazed at how clearly He speaks. Sometimes the words come through whispers to the soul --- and then other times -- they come through black ink on white pages right before my eyes. He's doing it over and over again. What a patient, kind, persistent Shepherd it is that i follow. Bleating and Baaing sometimes ---- but bending my knees and bowing my head always.
I'm revisiting an old book, to reconnect with an old friend --- and hear again, the message she has for me. If you've never met Much-Afraid, you should --- she's like a close cousin, or best friend, or even like a look in the mirror...
Poor little Much Afraid, she was fairly certain her journey to the high places had little chance of succeeding since her two companions, Sorrow and Suffering, were to be her daily guides. Not only that, but her lame feet, oh how they did cause her to stumble about weakly and slow them all down woefully. But she trusted the Good Shepherd to see her through to the high places she dreamed of and He had promised to her.
Then one day in their journey, the pathway they were to follow led downward. Down, into the desert valley lands. Where only sand and dust imitated a red carpet for her weak feet. Much Afraid reeled backward, refusing to move forward. How could the Good Shepherd mean for her to descend into the valley below ---- when He had promised her she would journey with Him to the High Places? She was horrified at the road ahead of her.
"I can't go down there," panted Much-Afraid, sick with shock and fear. "He can never mean that -- never! He called me up to the High Places, and this is an absolute contradiction of all that He promised."
She then lifted up her voice and called desperately, "Shepherd, come to me. Oh, I need you. Come and help me."
In a moment He was there, standing beside her.
"Shepherd," she said despairingly, "I can't understand this...
He looked at her and answered very gently, "That is the path, Much-Afraid, and you are to go down there."
"Oh, no," she cried. "You can't mean it. You said if I would trust you, you would bring me to the High Places, and that path leads right 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."... "it may be months, even years, before that path leads back to the mountains again."...
.... and that is where Much Afraid built her first altar...
..."Much afraid learned many things which she had never heard before...
... one morning she was walking near the tents and huts of the desert dwellers, when in a lonely corner behind a wall she came upon a little golden-yellow flower, growing all alone. An old pipe was connected with a water tank. In the pipe was a tiny hole through which came an occasional drop of water. Where the drops fell one by one, there grew the little golden flower...
...Much Afraid stopped over the lonely, lovely little golden face, lifted up so hopefully and so bravely to the feeble drip, and cried out softly, 'What is your name, little flower..." The tiny plant answered at once in a tone as golden as itself, 'Behold me! My name is Acceptance-with-Joy."
(from "Hinds' Feet on High Places pages 81, 82, 91)
"God gives us a vision, and then He takes us down to the valley to batter us into the shape of the vision. It is in the valley that so many of us give up and faint. Every God-given vision will become real if we will only have patience...
He (God) is never in a hurry. Yet we are always in such a frantic hurry...
God has to take us into the valley and put us through fires and floods to batter us into shape, until we get to the point where He can trust us with the reality of the vision...
Ever since God gave us the vision, He has been at work. He is getting us into the shape of the goal He has for us, and yet over and over again we try to escape from the Sculptor's hand in an effort to batter ourselves into the shape of our own goal.
The vision that God gives is not some unattainable castle in the sky, but a vision of what God wants you to be down here. Allow the Potter to put you on His wheel and whirl you around as He desires. Then as surely as God is God,
and you are you,
you will turn out as an exact likeness of the vision.
But don't lose heart in the process.
If you have ever had a vision from God, you may try as you will to be satisfied on a lower level, but God will never allow it."
(from "My Utmost for His Highest" July 6)
I read again today, that Mother Teresa committed to at least 4 hours of prayers every morning. She said she could have never survived the work ahead of her if she had not begun it with long mornings with God. In years past, i often wondered what in the world she could find to talk with God about for four hours.
(from "Hinds' Feet on High Places" pg. 90)
Photos taken by Maggie at Mesa Verde (CO), Great Sand Dune National park (CO), and Monument Valley (UT).
©2012 Donna Taylor/Reaching for the Robe