After my last post, I was reminded by a friend of a little book we read years ago - Hind's Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard.  It is written as an allegory, and I remembered it as being very meaningful to me at the time I read it (I think I was in my early 20's).  We happened to have a copy of the book, and I found it on the shelf in the front room.  My friend had reminded me that the main character in the book, Much Afraid, had as her companions in her journey Sorrow and Suffering.

Turning to the preface, I read these words:
"The lessons of accepting and triumphing over evil, of becoming acquainted with grief, and pain, and ultimately, of finding them transformed into something incomparably precious; of learning through constant glad surrender to know the Lord of Love himself in a new way and to experience unbroken union with him - these are the lessons of the allegory in this book." ~Hannah Hurnard, 1975

Over my lifetime, I have read many allegories of the transformative nature of suffering, and of the ultimate triumph of God and His children.  I think of C.S. Lewis' classic Chronicles of Narnia, or the Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien.  All these books were inspiring and uplifting.

It is our experience to know, right now, the true to life, day by day transformative nature of suffering: The suffering of our child, our suffering as parents.  Our family's painful intimacy with grief and pain.  I find God nearer, more comforting, more real somehow.  The awareness of His presence and constant sharing of our life experience is the cross we cling to together and -  because of the nature of suffering - separately.

I don't desire to read allegories at this stage in my life.  I am more interested in the gritty painful books such as A Grief Observed or The Problem of Pain - both by C.S. Lewis.  I want to know how people have made their way through the minefield of human suffering, how they have experienced God in the most painful of experiences.    I am thankful, however, for the allegorical novels I have read in the past.  They have reminded me, when all was well, that God would walk with me through the most difficult of circumstances.  The why cannot be answered.  Each person on this earth is asked to participate in the human experience, and to walk through times of trial.

We are learning to accept our new normal and finding God's comfort along the way.


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