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Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Long Journey

The Long Journey

"The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say. "

- J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring

I love The Lord of the Rings stories. They have elements of both fantasy and reality that I think I really respond to. My fiance rolls his eyes at me because I prefer those long, sweeping, epic movies like LOTR, The Chronicles of Narnia, Gladiator, etc as opposed to romantic comedies, horror flicks, or even "chick flicks." :). I just get really sucked into the adventure and the undertones that seem to permeate the story lines and the characters.

Do you remember the epic movies of the 80's? Neverending Story, I believe, was one of the first epic style movie I saw and I just got hooked. I'm like that with books too! I refuse to read those sappy dime store romance novels, and I just can't get my head into self-help books. I like to part of a big adventure! I like to know that my time, whatever it is that I may be doing, is making me a part of the bigger picture!

Isn't that what Christ wants us to realize? - that we are all a part of the big adventure, together, and we all have parts to play and a path to choose. Tolkien says that the road "goes ever on and on down from the door where it began." Where did our road begin? How did we get into our relationship with Christ in the first place? Was it hitting rock bottom? Was it a movie about His sacrifice that inspired you to see His love for you? Were you just raised with Him in your heart? Everyone stepped out of the door at some point and started down the narrow path. And, if you are like me...that narrow path sure has taken some twisty-turns and gone up and down some cliffs and valleys!

But...we know better than to go back now - behind the door that trapped us in our sin. So we see that the path goes on far longer than we can comprehend, but, we "must follow, if I can, Pursuing it with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet." Eager feet...that's a tough one sometimes, isn't it? We see the rocky path that goes through the underbrush, into perilous twists unknown and unseen by our eyes. So, we look back to see the door...squinting our eyes to see where we once came from...and we remember why we were on this journey in the first place...salvation - eternal adventure!

So we put one foot in front of the other - sometimes not making much headway at all...but we do make progress. Sometimes we trip over a root that has crossed our path and we smack our faces on the ground. And there are wild animals out there, ready to devour us as soon as we take our feet off that path. But we have a secret weapon against the underbrush, tall grasses, wild animals and foes...a sword forged by a King...the Word of God...with that, with His Word, He will make straight the path and He will make our journey doable.

Easy, no, the journey will not be easy. But it will be rewarding. Do you remember at the end of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, the last in the trilogy, Sam gets the girl, Frodo and Bilbo get to go on to eternity, Arwen and Aragorn have their happily-ever-after and Eowyn becomes ruler of Rohan with her fiance at her side. (sorry if you didn't see the series :)) It all worked out! But if you remember, throughout the series, it sure looked like they were going to fail at their mission, didn't it!? All those monsters, battles and internal strife really made you believe that there was just no way Frodo was going to get to Mount Doom to destroy that ring.
But then...there were moments of hope - faith - that allowed you to at least keep watching the story unfold to see what would happen.

Those little moments of hope made you - and the characters! - hold on. And weren't we all relieved at the end! It was all worth it! That is our own adventure we must take. We must cling to those moments of hope and victory that show us that God is faithful and He is right there by our side the whole way. Just like a parent holding onto the back of a "big-kid bike" as their child takes those first few anxious peddles towards adulthood...but then what...we have to let go for awhile. They might ride off on their own for awhile, but, you know that you are always there, watching, carefully letting them test the waters. And yes, they will fall, and then you will be right there to help them back up - taking joy and pride in their rising up again.

That is exactly how the Lord handles us on our adventure that we have been given! But...there's a have to join the adventure in order to see it be worth wile in the end! No one is going to give away the end of your story...that wouldn't be fair :) But, His Word does tell us,

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18).

In other words...the end justifies the means FAR beyond what we could ever imagine! So, pack up your trail mix, a bottle of water, and your Sword...and let's hit the path...shall we?

Questions for Reflection:

How are you doing on the path? Any snakes? Stumblings?
What about beautiful scenery and the majestic surroundings that He has put you in - how has He made your path journey worth it?

Until then my friends...journey well!

Allison is the author of, Simple Christian Living, a blog committed to enjoying Christ, simply, every day in every way.

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Blogger Cindy Swanson said...

What a great post! I love how you liken our walk with Christ to a great adventure...what a wonderful way of looking at the Christian life. Reminds me of Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "The Great Adventure"! By the way, I love those epic movies and books as well.

July 10, 2008 at 5:16 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

Such an awesome devotion my friend.

July 10, 2008 at 5:18 AM  
Blogger Homesteader in Training said...

I never saw the LOTR series but can relate to the walk that is less traveled. It's hard but the eternal reward far outweighs any troubles that we may have to endure. The Lord says He will never leave us or forsake us and I stand on that each and every step of the way.
Great post!

July 10, 2008 at 5:36 AM  
Blogger Patty Wysong said...

Those moments of hope and seeing the friendships are the best part of LOTR--and moments of hope in our lives make all the differnce! Thank God for those moments in the midst of the adventure!

July 10, 2008 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Tracy P. said...

This is a great post. It reminds me of one of my favorite books, Hinds' Feet on High Places. My blog is called The Journey-- I'm all about staying on the path through every twist, turn, and vista. I do love the adventure.

July 10, 2008 at 11:16 AM  
Blogger Mae said...

This post will pick you up when down. So full truth and love

July 10, 2008 at 2:27 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

Loved the post.

Loved the movie...

I often liken my journey to that set of movies as well as Hinds Feet On High Places.

Yea, there have been lots of snakes along the trail,
and thorns and thickets seem to abound in this place called earth. But the beauty. How can you describe it? It is unlike any I have ever found. Finding Jesus on the trail transforms life.


July 10, 2008 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger FromThe Creek said...

I was reminiscing with a current friend about my previous life experiences the other day.

The problem with that is that I feel such regret for what life was for so many years.

The good thing about that is that I am able to appreciate where I am, who I am and with whom I have been placed more abundantly. It truly is true that God uses everything for good, even if it doesn't seem like it at the time.

The snakes and stumbles were horrible, but they make my present life experiences so much sweeter.

Christy @ Chrysler Creek

July 10, 2008 at 10:04 PM  
Blogger windycindy said...

Yes, I completely agree with your analogy of our walk with Christ being a great adventure. One of love, laughter, tears, friendship, hardship, etc. Thanks for your lovely thoughts. Cindi

July 10, 2008 at 10:34 PM  

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