Do you ever wonder if fiction writers go too far?
Take J. R. R. Tolkien, for instance. He creates the meek hobbit Frodo Baggins from the dust of Middle Earth and plants him in the peaceful Shire. But just as Frodo is about to get comfortable, Tolkien launches him onto a harrowing quest: to destroy the mystical Ring of Power that will otherwise destroy the world. This means a dangerous trek across a darkening world to the fires of Mount Doom.
Along the way, Tolkien sets up foe upon foe against his little hero: hideous roaring hordes, gangs of ghoulish creatures, and several individuals who’ve devolved into twisted versions of their former selves. Then, of course, Tolkien attacks Frodo from within, as The Ring insinuates its power-lust into Frodo himself.
Outnumbered and overpowered, Frodo seems helpless.
But he isn’t. Tolkien gave him Sam.
Samwise Gamgee, under-noticed and under-appreciated, turns out to be Frodo’s source of strength. So near and so loyal as to be almost invisible, Samwise the Brave literally carries Frodo to ultimate victory.
It’s all too possible that with your eyes on the evening news, your own source of strength may go under-noticed, too. Whether you’re on a quest to bring light to some part of the darkening world, or you’re just trying to grow a pretty little garden in the Shire, it’s easy to be intimidated by the size of your foes.
On the news you see violence and bloodshed gaining ground. You hear voices roaring a destructive mantra through the media’s bullhorn. You discover your opposition has arrayed enormous financial or legislative forces aimed at dismantling all you’re trying to build. Subtly, fear tempts you to adopt the same means as your opposition. You want to be bigger, louder, stronger than they are. You must have power!
Who’s With You?
Wait. Whose side are you on?
Upon your answer to this one question everything else depends. There is one Ally who has promised, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” He is Creator of the universe, Author of all life; it is He who will triumph at our story’s end. Are you on His side?
If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior and followed Him as your Lord, you are. And if you are on His side, then you are far from helpless.
In the ancient stories we read of Elisha, “helplessly” surrounded by the horses and chariots of the king of Syria. Yet Elisha knew—and soon his servant saw—“those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
We read of Daniel, “helpless” before King Darius’ scheming advisors, who legislated him to death in the lions’ den. Yet the Lord’s angel shut the lions’ mouths.
Until the End of the Age
Now read about a man I’ll call Farid, from earlier this month–
Farid was eagerly telling everyone in his Muslim village about the new life he’d found in Jesus Christ. In short order, the imam preached in the mosque that Farid would be put to death if he did not renounce his faith and return to Islam within three days.
Farid phoned another believer: “What should I do?”
His friend replied, “Do nothing. See what God will do.”
Seventy-two hours. Such a long—or short—time to live in suspense.
Then word trickled to Farid: the imam had rescinded his ultimatum. So many people had seen the good changes in Farid’s life that they demanded of the imam, “Who are you to kill someone in our village?” Unexpectedly, the imam backed down.
Farid’s neighbors stood with him, simply because they had seen the difference made by the presence of God.
So don’t judge your strength with your eyes. Judge with your faith. You may feel like a little hobbit, facing the forces of evil alone, but you are not. If you have entrusted your soul to Jesus Christ, you are a child of the Returning King. And He assures you,
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
When you face a threat—whether potential or immediate—
from where do you draw strength?
If you have never entrusted yourself to Jesus Christ, but you’d like to know how,
send me a comment so we can talk. (I won’t publish it unless you ask me to.)