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Lessons from Frodo

Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: 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.

JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

I have to admit that I have been on a Lord of the Rings kick lately. I am trying to introduce Tolkien to my boys. It's a great story with subtle symbolism of living a Christian life within its pages. The quote above is rather appropriate during the times that we are living in now.

As background, this exchange comes at one of the darkest times of the book. The main protagonist, Frodo, was lamenting about the tough journey that he had just gone through and the task that was still ahead of him. He was expressing regret and a longing for simpler times. Gandalf, the mentor figure of the book, imparts the wisdom above. It encouraged the protagonist to continue on with his quest despite the difficult times.

Today's times are equally distressing. Hurricanes, wildfires and political upheaval are constantly battering us in the headlines. Social media further beats us down with stories of personal loss and tribulations. Our congregation is not immune to such difficult times. Many of us feel like Frodo wondering what we did to deserve to live in such difficult times. We might feel lost in this world and abandoned, facing unspeakable evils.

As Christians, we know that is not the case. Our Bible contains stories of bleak and dark times. The story of Moses has down times of slavery in Egypt and wandering the wilderness. David hiding from Saul. Daniel in the Lion's den. These are examples found in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the stories of Paul, the other disciples, and Lazarus are examples of difficult times.

The ultimate victory lies with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In the darkest of times (the crucifixion), our Lord rose from the grave freeing us from the power of sin. We know that whatever the times that we are experiencing, hopelessness is not the last word. Christ is the first, the last and only word. We have hope. We have forgiveness. We have the knowledge that evil will not succeed. Our mission is to share this love, knowledge and hope with others who are in the "dark".

"But in the end it's only a passing thing, this shadow; even darkness must pass."

JRR Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

God Bless,

Doyll Andrews

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