I absolutely love fantasy stories and movies. Naturally, my favorite is the stories of Middle Earth by Tolkien. I love the whole world he imagined and wrote about. I also love how Peter Jackson brought that world to life. It is such a great story of good vs. evil, but it is so much more than that.
As a christian, I often feel like I am on a journey through Middle Earth, carrying the “Ring of Power” around my neck. Sometimes, when I see all of the evil around me, I get discouraged and feel like there is no point in trying to make a difference. I get bogged down and don’t want to continue my journey. I think that is why the following scene in “The Two Towers” speaks so much to me.
Frodo has lost site of the goal. He thinks he can no longer go on. He feels the task is too hard for him. Then Sam steps in, and reminds him what is at stake. He reminds Frodo that the shadow is passing, and “A new day will come, and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.” He redirects Frodo back to the goal of a new day that will come when evil is destroyed.
As awesome as that is, my favorite part comes next, when Sam states his realization for why certain stories “stay with you.” He said, “But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going because they were holding onto something.”
Sometimes, we all need a Sam to remind us the shadows of life on this imperfect world will eventually pass. Evil will be destroyed, the new heavens and the new earth will be, and the sun will “shine out all the clearer.” But, for our story to mean something, we can’t give up and turn back. We need to hold on to something to help keep us going.
As I am writing this, an old folk song from India keeps playing in my head. I’ve sung this song so many times, but it always reminds me, even in the darkest of days, that with Jesus, there is no turning back. God doesn’t want me to turn back, just like He didn’t want the Israelites to turn back when they were in the wilderness. Turning back is foolishness. I need to put my hope in Him, and keep going.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.
I have decided to follow Jesus.No turning back. No turning back.The world behind me; the cross before me.The world behind me; the cross before me.The world behind me; the cross before me.No turning back. No turning back.Though none go with me, I still will follow.Though none go with me, I still will follow.Though none go with me, I still will follow.No turning back. No turning back.Will you decide now to follow Jesus?Will you decide now to follow Jesus?Will you decide now to follow Jesus?No turning back. No turning back.
Pretty much the entire book of Hebrews is about not giving up and motivating each other to not turn back. It’s about holding fast to the hope we have in Jesus, no matter what comes our way. Don’t give up! Keep going! We have something to hold onto, because He is faithful until the very end.
English Standard Version (ESV)
Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.