Posts Tagged ‘Unexpected journey’

Bilbo Baggins: I just need to sit quietly for a moment. 
Gandalf: You’ve been sitting quietly for far too long! 
Gandalf: When did doilies and your mother’s dishes become so important to you?

This post has very little to do with the focus of this blog other than I borrowed the title of Bilbo’s book in giving my own story a name, “There and Back Again”. I have loved The Hobbit since childhood, and remember begging my mom to sit and listen as I read portions of it out loud. This week I saw the movie and am still very much in love with this story.

Tolkien appeals to people with many different worldviews, each drawing from his stories their own conclusions about the underlying message he was trying to convey. He himself however never admitted to writing an allegory of any kind and insisted his books were stories that stood in their own right. He did concede though that an author’s beliefs (he was a Christian) do find their way into what he writes. It’s not possible to separate one from the other. As readers of fiction or poetry, we also read meanings into them derived from our own worldviews. So what I share here is likely much more than Tolkien ever meant by his story, but it’s a beautiful picture to me nonetheless.

If you have not read the book, or seen the new film just released – feel free to move on to a more interesting blog. 🙂

I identify with Bilbo so much, as an average human being. We have this idea in our minds about what we want to be, and then we are faced with what we are; small, weak, selfish, petty, and inclined to seek comfort as our highest ideal. In this introductory story of Middle Earth I see a transformation of a character from this low yet comfortable state to one not unlike the birth and growth of a Christian life.

One day, the Holy Spirit knocks. He is calling you for your true destiny. You argue and resist, and shut the door, thinking that is the end of that. You sit down for a nice cup of tea and try to put the whole thing out of your mind. But you are not allowed to sit comfortable for long. Soon God is setting events in order in your life that dishevel you, and start taking apart all the things you believe are so precious (a Hobbit hole full of dwarves!). He calls on you again to come. You still resist. You shudder at the risks and decide, “Absolutely not!”. You want your life put back in order and to be left in peace.

Then He leaves you alone in the quiet, which causes you to wonder, and hunger, and suddenly you run out the door after Him saying, “Yes I will, I will!”. You think maybe there will be something in it for you.. some great reward in fortune or a place of importance. After all it IS God who wants you right? If HE is asking you to do something, it must be very important and soon everyone will know of your great ministry!

The journey is at first a bit mundane.. and nothing is happening as you hoped. You get tired, and hungry and you miss your warm, comfortable chair by the fire. Then troubles come and you fear for your very life at times. The people around you who are supposed to be on this journey with you begin to criticize and say you don’t really belong with them. You wonder what you have gotten yourself into and start to pack your bag to go home. It’s not worth it. You’ve made a big mistake and there is nothing but pain and failure in your future.

Then it happens. God confronts you with a choice to seek your own safety, to save your own life – or to lay your life down for the sake of others. In that willingness to die, you at last learn to really live in Him. It’s not about you anymore. You have taken up your cross and you follow Him, to the ends of the Earth if He so asks – not for your own glory, but for the deep love He put in your heart for Himself, and those He sends you to.

Shortly after seeing this picture in the movie, I read the parable of the sower and saw all four of those pictures in this story too! The initial denial, the quick acceptance without counting the cost, the turning back because of the desire for the good things in life or too much suffering, and at last the acceptance of God’s call to die and take up a cross, in which we become the “good soil” which produces much fruit.

I have come to view this parable as the journey of a heart from separation to reconciliation with God, and the process of growth He takes us through.  Not everyone who resists the Word will always do so.   I know there have been times when each of these “soils” applied to me! I want my heart to be fertile soil, but I am not always.  I am new in Him forever and always, but each stage in my growing process seems to start this cycle all over again; initial resistance, eagerness which hasn’t counted the cost, shrinking back, then acceptance. If the seed is the Word… as Jesus says, then every word of truth may encounter these obstacles before it produces fruit our lives.

He is the final Word.. and I pray that as Christmas comes, He is planted in many hearts. This time of year, He is the also the Living Water that channels through Christmas into places he would never be allowed otherwise.  I even heard songs of Him at a public high school band concert.  If water spills out of its boundaries, it will fill every crack and cranny and seep through the smallest openings.  The world has a chance to see what they choose to forget the rest of the year.. a Redeemer has been born. There is so much grief and suffering in the world. I pray we hunger for Him and His Peace! Immanuel!  


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