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As they sang the hobbit felt the love of beautiful things made by hands and by cunning and by magic moving through him, a fierce and jealous love, the desire of the hearts of dwarves. Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking stick. He looked out of the window. The stars were out in a dark sky above the trees. He thought of the jewels of the dwarves shining in dark caverns. Suddenly in the wood beyond The Water a flame leapt up–probably somebody lighting a wood-fire-and he thought of plundering dragons settling on his quiet Hill and kindling it all to flames. He shuddered; and very quickly he was plain Mr. Baggins of Bag-End, Under- Hill, again.
– The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien/ Chapter 1 An Unexpected Party
Well here I go again, diving into another theological discussion about the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. This time I will be overthinking a passage out of my favorite book of all time, The Hobbit. In the passage Tolkien describes the feelings of the book’s hero, Bilbo Baggins, after an unexpected party of dwarfs (13 of them to be exact) storms into his life and asks him to accompany them on an adventure. You see for as long as Bilbo can remember he has been a little different from other hobbits. Hobbits are supposed to be small quiet people that want nothing to do with adventures or anything out of the ordinary. Bilbo from a young age had a secret heart’s desired to see the distant mountains and go on adventures with elves. His hobbit ancestors, the Tooks, were famous for their adventures. But after many years of living in the quiet green hills of the Shire Bilbo grew confortable with his life of ease, although he never quite let go of his secret heart’s desire to go on an adventure. When the dwarfs came into Bilbo’s life he was given the chance to live out his heart’s desire. But when he realized this fact a wave of fear spread over him. The fear of losing his comfortable life, the fear of the unknown, and of course the fear of a fire breathing dragon turning him into a pile of ash.
Isn’t it funny how we as people can wish and hope for our heart’s desire and as soon as we get the chance to obtain it we are blasted with a clear shot of reality and fear. It’s like the person who gets the call from an employer telling them that they have got the job or an athlete that is finally getting a chance to play in the game. Even the boldest of us know what it is like to shrink in fear when presented our own greatest desires. I have found this true in my own life. My heart’s desire is to follow the plan God has for my life and to serve him anyway that he sees fit. Many times in my life I have found myself praying a prayer that goes something like this, “Dear Lord please use me in a special way to bring you glory.” But when the Lord comes calling and places an opportunity right in front of me I start questioning things out of fear. “Lord, you want me to give what up?” “Lord, this is great but I need to prepare for my future.” “But Lord, I don’t know what is going to happen.” As you can probably tell, I have a great fear of the unknown. Many times in our lives we are given opportunities by the Lord to do great and wonderful things. The problem is that we often find the adventure God has for us too complicated for our comfortable lifestyles.
While talking about this topic with a close friend I came to realize something; as Christians we need to understand that God is in control and we need to just be thankful for the little bit that he allows us to see. In my life God has shown me what I am doing this summer. I need to be thankful for the little bit that he shows me and trust that he is in control of my future. I will not worry about the future, but serve whole heartedly where I am until God moves me.
So I ask you. Have you ever felt that wave of fear and doubt wash over you when given a chance at your heart’s desire? Like me, do you struggle with the fear of the unknown? The Lord has great plans for us and although we can sometimes not see it we, like Bilbo, will never know our true potential until we somehow find the courage to step out in faith onto the road. I will leave you with a quote from Bilbo to his nephew, Frodo. Tolkien writes, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harem you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. – Matthew 16:24
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33