“Humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” James 1:21
In the movie, Return of the King, Sam and Frodo share a conversation that never ceases to move me. Frodo is exhausted. Not just physically from his long journey to destroy the ring, but also emotionally from carrying the weight of the burden. They have faced, by this point in the trilogy, every imaginable hardship from grief and abandonment, to assault, kidnapping and battle. They are weary. And Frodo is beginning to forget. Forget the purpose of all this suffering. Forget why he ever agreed to get involved. Forget that he is not alone.
Ever been there? Just so exhausted from the battle that is life? Why am I doing all these hard things anyway?! Everything hurts, I’m tired and hungry, and no one even seems to notice me in the middle of all this mess. Maybe I should just quit and lay down and give in.
Give in to fear and self-centeredness. Give in to apathy and cynicism. Give in to bitterness and laziness. And you are just about to decide: That’s it. No more trying to help others, and no more fighting for my marriage and no more going to this church and trying to build community. No more forgiving and reconciling and trying to make a difference. It’s too much.
“Remember the shire, Mr. Frodo? It’ll be spring there soon…,” Frodo’s dear and faithful friend Sam, begins the process of reminding. Frodo had begun to despair because he forgot the truth. That he took this journey for a cause he believed in. That though no one could see him in that moment, his actions mattered to many. That he was not alone.
I need reminding every day. In community group last Sunday night my friend said she gets soul amnesia. That she just forgets who she really is and who God says she is. I’ve been thinking about that comment and realized this week that we all get it. Not only do we forget who we are, we forget who God is. We forget what we believe and why we believe it. Maybe not every day, but often enough. God knew though. He knew the battles we face would close in on us and we would lose sight of hope and truth, and He left us two “Sams” to be a constant source of reminding: His Word and His Spirit.
This week I am noticing the way God’s word and the Holy Spirit do their work in me. I get up early three or four mornings a week to read my bible and pray. Nothing movie worthy occurs, I assure you. In fact, it’s downright uneventful emotionally. I just read my bible and write out my prayers. The events- reminding, encouraging, refreshing- happen later, without my directing or purposing. Here’s a few from this week: I sat down to pay bills, and there is just not enough to pay all the things due this week on time. (Mid-life career changes take a toll on your budget) As I was feeling the stress rise internally, a verse from Psalm came to mind: “Some trust in horses and some in chariots, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Oh yeaaaah….. I don’t trust in MY resources for security. I trust in God who owns it all. My stress begins to drop….
I felt overlooked by a friend earlier this week. I knew it was nothing intentional, but my feelings were hurt none the less. It was a small slight, but for some reason, my heart was beginning to twist it into a big deal. Discouragement and insecurity were popping up. Several verses came into my head while driving home from work that day, most significantly: “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” The Holy Spirit reminded me I am fully loved. My closest of friends will not perfectly love me, and I can accept that so much easier when I remember I AM loved perfectly God. Hurt begins to ease….
The thing about this wonderful salvation from my forgetful self is I need the truth found in scripture. And it’s there to consume like I’m a starving beggar who just stumbled on a feast and I’ve gobbled it up without even stopping to be polite. The more I feast, the more full of truth I am. The easier it is to spot lies, to know now how to face the next battle, to remember who I am in Christ, and most importantly who God is always.