Spiritual Perspectives In Unnerving Times
I first started reading J.R.R. Tolkien’s books when I was 12 years old. It was easy to get drawn into the story of the most unimpressive and unlikely characters (Hobbits) ultimately becoming the hero's and best hope to save the world.
In the The Fellowship of the Ring, a diminutive character named Frodo, must journey through a time of fear, insecurity and certain harm and he, like many of us in our present circumstances, didn’t want to be immersed in such a life. Simply put, he didn’t ask for these problems and he certainly didn’t view himself to be any kind of solution. In fact you hear the full extent of his fear and self-doubt in a conversation with his friend and mentor, the wizard, Gandalf:
“I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
“I wish it need not happen in my time.” - I hear you Frodo, the pandemic, the fear, the contagion, the death, the loss of time, work, money, comfort and confidence…Can you relate?
The harsh reality:
“But that is not for them to decide.” - Like it or not, each of our life’s story takes us to a season that we did not want to go through.
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” - The strengthening or failing of our character, the willingness to love others in action not just words, to actually pray and not just say we’re praying for others, to still be sacrificial and giving, to be humble, to choose faith in every new day’s beginning and to decide the time given me will have meaning.
Ephesians 6:10-17 (Read it here)
The word-crafting in Paul’s encouragement to you today shouldn’t be missed. Every sentence is immersive and personal. This is a step by step instruction directed to no-one other than you:
Be strong IN the Lord
PUT ON the full armor
For OUR struggle
Buckled around YOUR waist
YOUR feet fitted
TAKE UP the shield of faith
which YOU can extinguish all the flaming arrows
TAKE the helmet…and the sword
It seems clear that if you decide to choose faith in the time given you, then you’ve got to put the equipment on.
Here’s what God’s armor does for you:
Be prepared: it is difficult to decide to have faith when you’re under spiritual attack. You’ve got to be living faithfully (wearing the armor) before hand, prepared for “when the day of evil comes”.
Be protected: perhaps it’s sobering for you to consider that the “forces of evil” want to harm you! It’s a personal attack that could have disastrous eternal consequences. Putting on truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, salvation all through the word of God, is more important now than ever.
Be confident: there is nothing quite like the feeling of being ready. It brings confidence…and confidence is a game changer in life. Getting into God’s armor lets you “stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.”
Decide what to do with the time given you.
Kevin Robbins Mdiv, March 2020