Plot introduction[ edit ] It is the story of a young woman named Much Afraid, and her journey away from her Fearing family and into the High Places of the Shepherd, guided by her two companions Sorrow and Suffering. It is an allegory of a Christian devotional life from salvation through maturity. It aims to show how a Christian is transformed from unbeliever to immature believer to mature believer, who walks daily with God as easily on the High Places of Joy in the spirit as in the daily life of mundane and often humiliating tasks that may cause Christians to lose perspective. Much Afraid is ugly from all outward appearances, walking on club feet, sporting gnarled, deformed hands, and speaking from a crooked mouth that seems to have been made so by a stroke or the like.
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In the portion she read, Much-Afraid the main character is promised a new name by The Shepherd. I asked what name she was given, but my friend merely smiled and told me I should read the book myself. From that point on, the book has been in my mental queue, but the time was never right. I have no doubt this was the right time for me to read this book. While that could be said for this book as well, the underlying sweetness of the story more than compensated for it.
Speaking of readability, the book is a quick read, but I found myself deliberately pausing after chapters in order to ponder the truths laid out. One such truth was that our greatest enemies on the path to the high places are internal - pride, resentment, bitterness, self-pity and fear.
How often do I sabotage my own efforts for one of these reasons? How often do I let fear stop me from trying? Or pride stop me from taking the first step? No matter where you are on your journey, I suspect you will see yourself in these pages. I know I am Much-Afraid much of the time and this book left me longing to collect stones of remembrance along the way so that I will have the faith and strength to be given a new name - or live up to the one I already have.
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