Bearing the Cost

The second and last letter in the alphabet of Love:

Just then she looked up at the cliffs above her head and started with surprise and delight. In a tiny crevice of the rock, where a few drops from the trickling waterfall could occasionally sprinkle on it, was a single plant. It had just two or three leaves, and one fragile stem, almost hairlike in its slenderness, grew out at right angles to the wall. On the stem was one flower, blood red in color, which glowed like a lamp or flame of fire in the early rays of the sun.

[red flower]

Much-Afraid stared at it for some moments noticing the wall which completely imprisoned it, the minute aperture through which it had forced its way to the light, and the barren loneliness of its surroundings. Its roots were clamped around by sheer rock, its leaves scarcely able to press outside bursting into bloom, and was holding its little face open to the sun and burning like a flame of joy. As she looked up at it Much-Afraid asked, as she had in the desert, “What is your name, little flower, for indeed I never saw another like you.”

At that moment the sun touched the blood-red petals so that they shone more vividly than ever, and a little whisper rustled from the leaves.

“My name is ‘Bearing-the-Cost,’ but some call me ‘Forgiveness.’”

Then Much-Afraid recalled the words of the Shepherd, “On the way up the precipice you will discover the next letter in the alphabet of Love. Begin to practice it at once.”

She gazed at the little flower and said, “Why call you that?”

Once more, a little whispering laugh passed through the leaves, and she thought she heard them say, “I was separated from all my companions, exiled from home, carried here and imprisoned in this rock. It was not my choice, but the work of others who, when they had dropped me here, went away and left me to bear the results of what they had done.

“I have borne and not fainted; I have not ceased to love, and Love helped me push through this crack in the rock until I could look right out onto my Love the sun himself. See now! There is nothing whatever between my Love and my heart, nothing around to distract me from him. He shines upon me and makes me to rejoice, and has atoned to me for all that was taken from me and done against me. There is no flower in all the world more blessed or more satisfied than I, for I look up to him as a weaned child and say, ‘Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire but thee.’”

Much-Afraid looked at the glowing flame above her head, and a longing which was almost envy leaped into her heart. She knew what she must do. Kneeling on the narrow path beneath the imprisoned flower, she said, “O my Lord, behold me—I am thy little handmaiden Bearing-the-Cost.”

— Hannah Hurnard, Hind’s Feet on High Places

Bearing-the-Cost — Carry-Your-Cross, do they sound alike? Also known as Forgiveness, hmm…humility?

“There is nothing whatever between my Love and my heart…” — “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

“He shines upon me and makes me to rejoice, and has atoned to me for all that was taken from me and done against me.” — ” Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6 and the other Beatitudes)

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