I am a BIG Lord of the Rings nerd. (and The Hobbit too… yes, I also thought The Hobbit sequel was amazing). Not just because I can relate to the hobbit’s experiences as short people, but because it combines ALL of my favorite little and big things: noble battles, fighting for love, everlasting friendships, embarking on an incredible journey, and of course, second breakfast.
But the journey that these hobbits embark on is not just full of good things. Their journey is incredibly difficult, requires a lot of sacrifice, humility, and pushing past things way bigger than them (most of the time, literally).
And they did not see this journey coming. Frodo expected to live a long, happy life in the comfort of The Shire… until the ring came along, and it forever changed the course of his life. We all know and admire this story of nobility found in the unlikeliest of places.
I’m sure that along the way of this journey to destroy the ring, the hobbit’s wondered if this battle was really theirs to fight…
“I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.”
A lot of us have been in the same place, saying the same thing, asking the same question: “Am I fit to fight this battle that I’m in?”
In this life we live surrendered to Jesus, we’re also on a journey that isn’t all victorious joys and easy-going times. I have believed the lie that this journey never gets ugly. Then, when defeat is seen in the distance, I shrink back in fear and doubt the person that God made me to be. Worse yet, I doubt the Lord’s power to help me overcome what is in the distance, that thing that is right in front of me.
But I admire characters like Merry, Pippin and Eowyn, two of which were not even 4 feet tall and one of which was a woman, the most unlikely soldiers, desperately wanting to fight the battle for Middle Earth. I admire people like David in the Bible who everyone else doubted, and tilted their head at in confusion and wondered, “is this really God’s anointed?” His story is definitely not always one of obedience to the Lord and victory – in fact, David slipped… a lot. But he also was a man after God’s heart, won many battles and praised the Lord relentlessly, even if sometimes he doubted God.
Along our journeys, we will experience loss, defeat, grief, loneliness, surrender and times where we are just hanging by a thread and our faith is shot. There have been times when, from a distance, life’s worries and distractions seem to grow in numbers. I shrink back and try, try, try. Try to do more, work harder, fight harder, exhaust myself more and more to try to win. But the only place that gets me to is a place of weariness and confusion.
This war we fight as Jesus followers is full of beauty and pain. But, the Lord promises that we are not destroyed. “We are perplexed, but not driven to despair; afflicted, but not crushed.” (2 Cor. 4:7-8).
You may have suffered defeat, but you are not defeated. You may have suffered loss, but you are not a loser. You may have experienced loneliness, but you are not alone. You may have failed, but you are not a failure.
Jesus paid too high of a price for your battle to be entirely lost. He sacrificed too much for your identity to be defined by your failures. He has bought back our identity as more than conquerors, through Him that loves us. When there seems to be no end in sight, no victory ahead, turn to the Lord who can see what we cannot. Give Him the weights that hold you down, and let Him fight for you. Keep fighting your fight with the Lord who carries you.
You may think you’re an unlikely soldier, not fit for the battle you are fighting. But the One who brought you to it qualifies you for it.