ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
One of my favorite books and films is The Lord of the Rings trilogy, written by J.R.R. Tolkien. Within its pages is a tale of a little hobbit by the name of Frodo Baggins who has a mysterious and dark ring come into his possession. It was not his wish nor his choice to possess the ring; rather, it was forced into his possession by his friend, the wizard, Gandalf the Gray.
Gandalf did not force Frodo to take the ring because he had malice in his heart toward Frodo, he did it because Frodo’s uncle was being slowly and surely corrupted by the ring and the only one Gandalf could trust was this little hobbit boy. This turn of events thrusts Frodo and Gandalf into a perilous race against time to take the ring to Mt. Doom, where it was created, and to throw it into the fires of the mountain in order to permanently destroy it and the evil that is bound within it.
At one point in the journey, Frodo (who is exhausted, worn down, beaten up and discouraged) looks up at Gandalf the Gray and says, “I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf certainly understands the boys wish, and there is no doubt that he, himself, wished that none of those events had happened. But they had happened, and nothing would change that. Gandalf looked down to where Frodo was sitting and said softly, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
I am sure we all can relate to Frodo and the feeling of helplessness that he was lost in. Many of us find ourselves in situations we never planned for ourselves, doing things we never intended to have to do, and faced with trials we never would have anticipated coming our way. But they did come our way, and we have had to respond to those trials and be tested by them.
What is important for us to realize is that while God is very much to us like Gandalf the Gray was to Frodo. God does not wish for us to be tried the way we are, nor does God cause the bad times to fall upon us. Perhaps, like Gandalf, God too wishes that the trials we face never had to happen. But they did and do happen and, like Gandalf, God is there with us to comfort us in such times. God is there with us to encourage us in such times. God is there with us to equip us to keep pressing forward through such times…all the way until we finally are able to climb the summit of whatever Mt. Dooms exist in our lives.
It is natural for us to wish that none of it existed or happened, but God is there to remind us that all we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given us. Once we know that we are not alone, and that there is no mountain in our way that God can’t get us over, then we will at least be at peace that God will see us through the fire. God will never leave us, nor forsake us…EVER. Know that and experience the grace and peace that comes with it!
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a [person] perfected without trials.” — Ancient Chinese Proverb
Lord, though I may go through tough trials in my life, I know that you are there with me and that you continue to carry me. Into your loving and guiding arms, I commit my spirit. Amen.