I love Much-Afraid. Her temptations resemble mine. I have heard the same comments from my own head (or the Enemy) a thousand times. I have often resisted calling on the Shepherd for the same reasons: I am ashamed, or I am afraid that He is going to tell me that I really do have to do what He has told me to do. I'd rather sit in denial than receive truth, or at least that is how it looks from my response - or my lack of it.
What are ways that we don't call on Him? We don't get in His word. We don't attend church. We won't bother to call on others to pray with us when we are struggling. We avoid prayer and refuse to worship. We flee hope. We are so silly. We are silly because Christ is the cure. Applying grace to our heart through the means of grace brings on more grace. These things tend to create sweeter longings and more obedience. He proves Himself to be a tender lover and friend when we resist the urge to resist. It's like refusing an offer for a trip to the sea because we are happy with creating mud pies - as C.S. Lewis would say.
1. On page 121 Much-Afraid frets as she says that because she can’t get up to the high places the way that the Shepherd has chosen, she can’t go at all. Has the thought ever come to you that you won’t be able to pass the way set before you, and therefore you can’t get to a better “place” in your faith?
2. Does Craven Fear’s comments, “Did you really believe that you could escape me altogether. You belong to me,” sometime feel like they are words spoken to you? How can you fight that? What do you need to believe to silence that voice?
3. Look at the taunting of Craven Fear. How does Fear speak to you?
4. Much-Afraid resisted calling on the Shepherd. Why? What keeps you from calling on the Lord?
5. When the Shepherd spoke to Much-Afraid, how did he speak to her? Do you picture the Lord speaking to you as tenderly, or do you imagine Him differently? What is true?
6. How might the Shepherd’s comment to Much-Afraid, “I know you better than you know yourself,” cause us to have hope in our trials?
7. Do you believe that the Lord delights in doing the impossible with us? What impossible task might the Lord want to accomplish in you? Into whom might you be transformed?
8. Much-Afraid laid her will, her dread and her shrinking on the altar? Has this idea ever occurred to you? (I have often understood the idea of laying my will on the altar, but not so much my dread and my shrinking.) Why might that be a sacrifice?
9. The Shepherd warned Much-Afraid that her enemies would be at the base of the mountain waiting for her if she lingered. Have you ever experienced a time of temptation when you are getting ready to do something, but you haven’t taken the 1st step? How much harder is the temptation before beginning something than after you have begun? Can you share a time this was true?