This chapter could not have come at a better time. It truly spoke to my heart in this seasons of my life, and how, even though I do not understand His ways, He is always faithful to bring me through.
As Much-Afraid became aware that what lay ahead of her on the next phase of her journey was a desert, she immediately began to argue with her companions, Sorrow and Suffering, insisting that surely this was not the way she should go. After all, the Shepherd had called her to the High Places. Why would He want her to detour through the desert?
But the Shepherd made it very clear that this was the way she should go. He assured Much-Afraid that He was not contradicting Himself by calling her to the High Places, yet making her go through the desert. He called it “postponement for the best to become possible.”
As the Shepherd led her away from her heart’s desire, He asked her if she loved Him enough to accept the postponement and the apparent contradiction of the promise, and to go down with Him to the dessert.
After arriving at the desert, the Shepherd explained that all of His servants on their way to the High Places have had to make this detour through the desert. He called it “The Furnace of Egypt”. (Gen. 15:12, 17) Thereafter he brought Much-Afraid into different rooms and showed her things she had never seen before.
Truly, one of the most impactful portions of this chapter came on the last page. Much-Afraid notices that throughout all the desert, not a single green thing was growing, neither tree nor flower nor plant. But on the last morning, as she was walking along the tents and huts of the desert dwellers, she happened upon a little golden-yellow flower, growing all alone. When she asked the flower it’s name, it responded,
“Behold me! My name is Acceptance-with-Joy.”
This sums up the journey I’ve been on in this current season of my life. As there lies ahead many unknowns, I refuse to allow my circumstances to steal my joy. With the Shepherd’s help, I am learning to see through the eyes of faith and accept my current situation with joy.