I was disappointed to awake this morning at 7:30am to dry ground. No snow, as was promised. But still 30-something degrees outside. Sometimes it just seems wrong to have such cold temps without something to show for it. But nevertheless, I enjoyed my morning cup of coffee and read for bit, before getting ready for the day. Accompanied by the sound of a fire crackling, thanks to my sweet husband. The master fire builder.
After a weekend retreat near Estes Park, along with several of our high school youth, I returned to Denver with a sort of expectation in my heart. The retreat theme centered around Tolkien’s The Hobbit, and more specifically the first movie, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. And I must admit, I had never seen the movie until Sunday evening after the retreat had concluded. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
All weekend we reflected on the way God calls us to leave our creature comforts for the adventure of a lifetime, as Gandalf called Bilbo Baggins; never promising that he would return to the comfort of his home, but if he did, assuring him he would never be the same.
As the movie depicted, the decision to accept the call was not followed by lighthearted skipping through meadows of wildflowers. Or at least not for long! Instead, the acceptance of the call led to a challenging traverse through a multitude of obstacles and resistant forces. Yet in the end, a greater redemption was found. Personal and relational growth had taken place. Is it not the very same for us?
I have found that safety, comfort, predictability, and familiarity are good. I enjoy them, yet they will never lend themselves to the extraordinary. They are a good 100 steps back from the ledge of risk, the unknown and the unexpected. This does not make them bad, but it does contrast them against the moments of life when God nudges us to step out, to step forward, and to accept the call to the unexpected journey.
So while I speak in vague terms tonight, not knowing exactly what this means or why, I simply write about it to reflect. And in my reflection, I see something a bit more clearly. Often, our acceptance of the call, which includes everyday obedience to God, is more about those we are with on the journey than it is about ourselves.
This theme seems to be presenting itself a lot to me lately, which I don’t take lightly. The principle of accepting the call of God on our lives is not only for the benefit of self, but for the benefit and help of others. When we say yes, we often see dimly…only noticing the domino effect of changes directly in front of us. But what we do not see is the change and cause-and-effect that will happen far out beyond us…over the hill and through the woods. That’s why faith is required! We cannot and will not see ALL that our obedience to the call yields, but we can be assured that the Lord does and there is always a greater purpose, and a larger story that we are part of.
And so, I conclude this evening with thoughts of journeys, of hobbits, of obedience, and of adventure, and what it all means for me personally, and for those who will play a role in my path, and I in theirs. And I smile as Nathan just played me a recording of J.R. Tolkien singing one of the many songs of the original hobbit story. Little did he know, his story would be impacting my life in the first days of November, 2013.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength […] Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.” ~Mark 12:29-31