I’ve just got back from watching The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at the cinema… Which quite frankly, was almost everything I hoped it would be, in true cinematic brilliance.
I mean, when you’re a book-loving-geek, it’s always a bit of a risk going to see the movie… But in any format, I’ve confessed before that I’m a bit of a LOTR/Hobbit fan… And Desolation of Smaug even sounds cool. It’s one of those movie titles that you have to kind-of pronounce in a funny-dramatic-voice for the extra effect. Like you’re announcing it as a voice-over…
I know, I know, I’ve talked before about my love for most things nerdy… (Yes. Last year me and some friends did watch all three extended LOTR movies back-to-back in a 24 hour period…) But in all seriousness, watching The Hobbit is one of those movies that makes you really kind of wish Gandolf would come to your door and take you on a real-life adventure.
Because in this story we see home-loving-and-comfortable-and-respectable Bilbo, leave the shelter of the Shire and venture into the unknown wilds of Middle Earth. And this unappreciated, unnoticed, tiny, hobbit, suddenly finds the courage to take on Smaug the dragon, engage in more battles than he could have imagined, and ultimately, make a major stand for what is right.
And although it’s a fictional story, I think it looks at a whole lot of human desires, emotions and reactions in a way that most people can relate to. At our core.
Because we were created for adventure. We grow in the battles and the sacrifice and in the friendships. We learn on the journey. We war against fear and greed and anger and selfishness. Our loyalty and steadfastness get tested. We grow as we move forward.
I could go on… 🙂
Funnily, this morning our church had some similar messages in both the worship and the preach. Because we were singing that beautiful song, ‘Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me…’ and resting in that place where we were challenged to step into the seemingly-uncertain-waves trusting that Jesus was calling us to Him. We were thinking about how suffering and trial take us further into faith, because there is a beautiful lesson in trusting completely when the journey isn’t safe or comfortable.
It’s that choice.
To take the hand of Jesus, and trust Him. To walk with Him on this adventure, wherever He may call us.
Our preacher this morning covered a lot in his message, but I was really struck by his reference to the story of Peter and the miraculous catch of fish. Do you remember that story? Peter and his friends had been fishing all night and caught nothing, and Jesus came to the shore and shouted that they should let their nets down on the other side of the boat. And against all odds, and all expectations in the natural, they pulled in the biggest catch of fish they had ever, ever seen. And the crowds on the shore would have seen this great miracle. Those in the boats saw it. Those on the beach saw it. So many people took it in through their natural eyes.
Two types of people.
One group, who would have thought it was a wonderful miracle, but who then went home to their normal lives. The Jesus admirers.
And another group, a smaller group, who responded and left everything to follow Jesus. The Jesus followers.
And we considered how as Christians, being a Jesus admirer just doesn’t really cut it. Because God is calling us out. He is calling us to change us. He is calling us to join Him in the adventure. Day by day, stepping out and walking forward, and taking His hand on the journey.
But it’s our choice.
A bit like Bilbo. Because, he could have ignored Gandalf’s pleas and stayed where it was comfortable. And missed out on the biggest-life-changing adventure set before him.
He could have been too scared to go.
He could have turned back at any of the trials or difficulties and challenges and gone back to the comfortable safety on his little round house.
You know, I think fear and frustration can be such crippling things for us in our relationship with God.
We sometimes don’t want to follow Him because we’re scared of what that will mean. What impact it will have.
Or we start off saying ‘Yes’, but then feel frustrated that we’re not at the place of the journey that we want/expect/hope to be at.
One reaction leaves us staying still and stagnant in our faith. The other leaves us distant and offended at God.
And neither is right.
Because Holy Spirit is our best friend. He calls us to follow Him, trust Him and allow Him to change us. And He made these waters for us to walk on. Sometimes the journey is scary. Sometimes the journey is long. Sometimes the darkness seems unbearable. Sometimes the waiting makes us want to scream. But always, Holy Spirit is our best friend. It doesn’t always make it feel safe, or comfortable, or easy… But we can trust Him.
I can trust Him.
In the waiting. In the testing. In the praising. In the valley. I can trust Him.
Because He has captured my heart.
And I love the adventure, because pursuing Him is the greatest adventure of all.
Ok. And let’s be honest… You can’t get much more geeky that going to watch The Hobbit wearing a Mr Spock T-shirt…