A Lesson in Perseverance from LOTR

When Frodo began his journey in The Fellowship of the Ring, it was a journey he never would have anticipated taking, one he fought against traveling. Yet he went, and he was thrust from his quiet, safe world into a world of adventure and danger.

He and the fellowship traveling alongside him fought against orks and ring wraiths and giant spiders and mountains and fire and Smeagol and more! Many times Frodo wanted to give up, but he kept pressing on. Perhaps the greatest obstacle he faced was the temptation of putting on the ring, a ring that would make him invisible. How easily he could slip past the enemies with it on! But the ring that could have saved him, also attracted evil. In spite of it all, he kept moving forward. And through it all, he was never alone.

Throughout our lives each of us has likely ventured out on an unknown and unplanned journey, down a road we never intended to take. Maybe it’s family changes: a death, divorce, unplanned pregnancy. Or maybe it’s career changes with layoffs or difficult co-workers. For writers, some have found success with little effort, while others fight for every inch gained.

Life is seldom easy, but worthwhile journeys rarely travel straight, paved roads. And when we set our eyes on the goal God set for us, we’ll never be alone.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12 – 14

Run the Race

September is a time of big change in my area, and it often feels like the beginning of race. Kids are back in school. Business conferences abound. The air cools, winds blow, a hint of winter scents the air, and leaves become a kaleidoscope of colors as the days race toward winter.

Sometimes those changes are welcome, yet other times they hurl tension into our lives: adjusting to new schedules, prepping the yard for winter, going to all those conferences!, taking time to appreciate nature’s new artwork.

Some people love change, yet others prefer the status quo.

Autumn ValleyBut, the fact is, life changes. It throws detours at you, forces you to jump hurdles, makes you climb mountains, or slog through valleys. At times life blinds you with its brightness or envelopes you in darkness. Sometimes you get stuck in the muck, other times you’re slipping on icy terrain.

Regardless of what road life takes you on, the important thing is to keep going, though it often seems so easy to say I Quit! I’m done!

Raise your hand if you’ve said that in the last year. In the last month? Week? Today? Yeah, I think my hand went up every time.

Yet, I’m continually reminded of Paul’s letter to the Philippians where he tells them “… I press on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Road through ForestAre you in a place in your life right now where you want to quit? Have you encountered nothing but dead ends and potholes and detours? Is a cold, dead winter all you see ahead of you? Then pray about it. Lay your concerns at Jesus’ feet …

Then stop and listen.

Maybe you’ll hear, Keep going! in spite of the road block ahead of you. God can move it! Or maybe you’ll hear, Your race has changed course. What’s important is that you “…run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.” (Hebrews 12:1b – 2a)

And remember, while you’re running life’s race, don’t forget to enjoy the ever-changing view!