“Do you love me enough to be able to trust me completely, Much-Afraid?” said the Shepherd (Jesus) to the main character in the book Hines Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. Rereading this allegorical novel has taken me on a journey of remembering how precious it is to have the Shepherd in our lives. Through the valleys, deserts, and on the heights His love for us is unfailing. The journey may be rough, hard to determine, and down right scary sometimes but along the way the Shepherd is available and most concerned with strengthening our character. As His beloved ones, He desires most for us to have Godly character that develops as we love and trust him completely.
A lifetime of loving is exactly what the Bible calls us to do as a true follower of Jesus. Jesus’ answer was simple as He was asked the most important commandments:
Mark 12:30-31 (NIV)
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Transformation of our mind and heart come as we allow the leading of a loving God to guide our every step. As our Father designed us, we were created to love and be loved. As one Christian neuroscientist, Dr. Caroline Leaf, says, “We have been wired for love.” If we are able to even comprehend His great love for us and desire to lead us in this life, trust would just come naturally. Our character would quickly develop and His loving presence would be experienced by others out of our new character.
To truly love does come with a cost, as you may have already experienced in life. Truly loving someone means at times you surrender your will and desires to love as Christ calls us to love. Our sinful nature must fall under submission to this loving God to really fully receive all He has for us on this earth. As we die to our will, His will becomes more clearly realized. What also starts happening is that His perfect love now casts out the fearfulness, anger, loneliness, and unhealthy desires. Surrendering our will becomes the road to victory, not defeat.
To surrender our will means to come to a place of loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength which means trusting him completely no matter the circumstance and with whatever life brings our way. Love and trust go together as we follow the Great Shepherd. The promise we have is that he will lead us to green pastures and beside clear waters that will restore our soul and produce His character in us.
As you read this, my hope is that you have been surrounded by His love. I close with a simple prayer for you: Jesus, our Shepherd, surround the reader with your love. Help them surrender their will and trust you for the next step in the journey. Transform their heart and mind to discern your good, pleasing, and perfect will. May they choose to love, listen, and trust you above all else. Thank you for giving us your Spirit to accomplish your good work in us and through us so that we may have your character. In your name I pray, Amen.