|Photo Courtesy of Amazon|
Review by Ian Acheson
Much-Afraid had been in the service of the Chief Shepherd, whose great flocks were pastured down in the Valley of Humiliation. She lived with her friends and fellow workers Mercy and Peace in a tranquil little white cottage in the village of Much-Trembling. She loved her work and desired intensely to please the Chief Shepherd, but happy as she was in most ways, she was conscious of several things which hindered her in her work and caused her much secret distress and shame. Here is the allegorical tale of Much-Afraid, an every-woman searching for guidance from God to lead her to a higher place.
A good friend of mine was shocked when I said I’d never even heard of this “Christian Classic”, let alone read it. Having 700+ reviews on Amazon (average rating 4.8) tells me many have read this book that was written in 1955. I expect there are some within ACW who have fond memories of reading it at one time.
I don't read many allegories but this was such a delight and I can understand why so many people read it multiple times. The story takes its title from Habakkuk 3:19 and Much-Afraid’s journey of falling in love with God as she climbs the mountain is tremendously uplifting and inspirational. Here she is, the fearful Much-Afraid, learning to trust her Shepherd as He transforms her.
What is interesting is the significance of her encounters with the Shepherd. It is only through the deepening relationship realised by those encounters and her obedience in stepping out in faith that the transformation occurs. Power is released when we obey and we see very practical examples of this in Much-Afraid's journey.
I took a lot away from this powerful tale and trust some of the key messages will linger in my heart for many weeks. It also reminded me that often it's the simple tales that capture our hearts. One doesn't need to write a literary masterpiece to stir a reader's heart.