How Lord Of The Rings Helps Us Suffer Well

If you have read my book (thank you!) you know I am pretty nerdy. Lord of the Rings is my favorite movie trilogy. I know J.R.R. Tolkien wasn’t trying to write an allegory of the Christian life, but he pretty much did anyway. There is so much in the movies (and even more in the books. Read them. You’ll thank me later.) that can encourage and edify a person. The series is a clinic in perseverance. In the first book of the series, the main character Frodo is overwhelmed with the task of destroying the evil ring of power and defeating all the dark forces of the enemy and in a moment of despair says “I wish none of this ever happened.”

Have you ever been there? How many times have you caught yourself wishing 2020 never happened? Have you ever had a moment when the pain you are facing was so strong and the hurt was so real you just cry “I wish none of this ever happened?” But as Frodo wishes out loud that none of this ever happened, his mentor Gandalf the Grey says something incredibly profound. It’s one of my favorite quotes from the entire series. He says: “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 to us.”

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Gandalf the Grey

Unfortunately, we don’t always get to decide what happens in our lives. We don’t always get to decide the pain we experience. But we can decide how we are going to walk through that pain. Gandalf goes on to say that Frodo was meant to walk this path. We can take comfort in knowing that God is in control of our lives and nothing happens to us that is outside of his will. We may not always understand it. Like Frodo, we often don’t like it. But knowing that God is good and has a reason for allowing our suffering gives us the confidence we need to face whatever difficulty lies in front of us. In Walking with God through Pain and Suffering Tim Keller said “While God’s ways are often just as opaque (hard to see) to us as a parents are to an infant, still we trust that our heavenly Father is caring for us and present with us to guide and protect in all the circumstances of life.” 

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding;

You can check out the scene from the movie here:

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How Do We Navigate Suffering?


Discover how your Christian identity can enable you to walk through the difficulties in your life well while at the same time point people to the one place they can find lasting hope.

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Published by Nick Minerva

Nick Minerva lives in Fresno, California with his wife, Sarah and their four children. He currently serves as the Associate Pastor of Fresno Church where he has been on staff for over 10 years.

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