Read Mark 8:27-34
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
In 2022, Amazon Prime Video came out with an original series called, The Rings of Power, based off of J .R. R. Tolkien’s Silmarillion and Appendices, which map out the history of his beloved Middle Earth and how the evil we see in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings came to be.
Anyone who know me knows my love of Tolkien and his Middle Earth. I have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and I am planning on reading the Silmarillion as well; so, when I learned this series was going to be released, I was sure to watch it and, of course, I LOVED IT.
The next several devotions I will be writing on certain nuggets of wisdom that I found to be profound in the series. No worries, I won’t spoil anything. Today’s devotion takes place aboard a ship in Middle Earth. This is the ship of the Queen Regent Míriel of Númenor, the kingdom of men on the island originally called Elenna, which was brought up out of the sea by the Valar, mighty beings who were called the Holy Ones and came out of the thoughts of Eru Ilúvatar, the god of Arda.
All those names need not mean anything to you, but they are important to the history of Middle Earth. Now, back to the Queen Regent. She is alone with her captain, Elendil. She can see the pain and anguish in his eyes. Without going into detail, he had suffered great loss in the battle to fight the evil leader Adar (who was created for this show and was never in the books) and his army of orcs and Uruks.
The Queen Regent too had suffered great loss and she is looking at her seemingly broken captain with compassion and regret. She tells him that she would understand if Elendil decided to retire following their return to Númenor. The Queen Regent Míriel had brought them into this fight with the hope that she could fight Adar in Middle Earth, across the sea from her homeland of Númenor, with the hopes of establishing Númenor once again in Middle-Earth. The truth is, in the First Age, the race of men was defeated by Morgoth and Sauron, and they fled middle earth and reestablished Númenor on the Island of Elenna. The Queen Regent, after much deliberation, came to the decision to act and save the people of Middle Earth from the great evil that Adar was spreading through the land.
In this scene I mention on the ship, though, they realize that they have not one and all seems lost; however, with that said, the Queen Regent’s knows the fight is not over, but has just begun. Elendil, following Míriel’s kind and compassionate words, tells her that he is not looking to quit, and that everything he has done to that point was done intentionally, though he never imagined it would lead to the situation they were currently in.
In her wisdom, Queen Regent Míriel tells him the following: “My father once told me that the way of the faithful is committing to pay the price, even if the cost cannot be known and trusting in the end it will be worth it.” Elendil followed with, “Sometimes the cost is dear.” The Queen Regent acknowledged, “It is.” After a pause, Elendil nodded, “Then the only choice we have is to keep serving.” Amen.
That is the way of the faithful. They sign up because they think it will be easy, a smooth ride if you will. They don’t give up because the times have gotten tough. They endure even though they did not know what the cost would be and they know that, no matter the cost, the mission is too important to abandon. In other words, they are willing to keep paying the cost until they have completed what was needed to be done.
Jesus calls us to THAT kind of faith too. The fact is that Jesus demanded of his followers that they deny themselves…in other words, that they turn away from their own selfish desires and will. Jesus demanded that they deny themselves, pick up their cross and follow him. In other words, prepare to be willing to die in order to preach the Good News, because the world is not going to like it and who knows what in the end discipleship will cost? It could even cost one her or his life.
Are you walking the way of the faithful? Are you willing to? There’s no telling where journey will take you; however, we know where the destination is: The Kingdom of God, on earth as it is in heaven. Let us reflect on Queen Regent Míriel’s wisdom and take it to heart, for as Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Amen.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Too many Christians have a commitment of convenience. They’ll stay faithful as long as it’s safe and doesn’t involve risk, rejection, or criticism. Instead of standing alone in the face of challenge or temptation, they check to see which way their friends are going.” – Rev. Dr. Charles Stanley
Lord, lead me down the narrow hard path. Though I know not the cost, I commit my life to be in service of you. Amen.