"I can't go down there," panted Much-Afraid, sick with shock and fear. "He can never mean that - never! He called me up to the High Places and this is an absolute contradiction of all that He has promised."..."Shepherd," she said despairingly. "I can't understand this, the guides you gave me say that we must go down there into that desert, turning right away from the High Places altogether. You don't mean that, do you? You can't contradict yourself. Tell them that we are not to go there, and show us another way. Make a way for us, Shepherd, as you promised."
He looked at her and answered very gently, "That is the way, Much-Afraid, and you are to go down there."
"Oh, no," she cried. "You can't mean it. You said if I would trust you, you would bring me to the High Places, and that path leads right away from them. It contradicts all that you promised."
"No," said the Shepherd. "It is not a contradiction, only postponement for the best to become possible."
Much-Afraid felt as if he had stabbed her to the heart. "You mean," she said incredulously, "you really meant that I am to follow that path down and down into that wilderness, and then over that desert, away from the mountains indefinitely? Why (and there was a sob of anguish in her voice) it may be months, or even years before that path leads back to the mountains again. Oh Shepherd, do you mean it is indefinite postponement?"
He bowed his head silently, and Much-Afraid sank to her knees at his feet, almost overwhelmed. He was leading her away from her heart's desire altogether and gave no promise at all as to when he would bring her back. As she looked out over what seemed like an endless desert, the only path she could see led farther from the High Places, and it was all desert.
Then he answered very quietly, "Much-Afraid, do you love me enough to accept the postponement, and apparent contraction of the promise, and to go down there with me into the desert?"
She was still crouching at his feet, sobbing as if her heart would break, but now she looked up through her tears, caught his hand in hers, and said, trembling, "I do love you, you know that I love you. Oh, forgive me because I can't help my tears. I will go down with you into the wilderness, right away from the promise if you really wish it. Even if you cannot tell me why it has to be, I will go with you, for you know I do love you, and you have the right to choose for me anything that you please."
~ Hannah Hurnard