Sometimes We Must be the Sacrifice

J.R.R. Tolkien lived through two World Wars; he knew better than most that no victory comes without a cost. This theme of sacrifice is ingrained in his novels and in the essence of his characters, none more so than Frodo Baggins. Frodo gave up his peaceful life at home in order to destroy the Ring, knowing the mission would likely claim his life. In the end, even though Frodo survived his journey he could not go back to his life in the Shire. He had given everything to protect the world, and now, he had no place in it. As Christians, sometimes we are called to surrender the things we love most in order to preserve what Christ has done. It may be our hard-won careers, our deepest dreams, perhaps even the desire for a family of our own. It is a cold and bitter truth, but like Frodo, Christ does not leave us alone and without hope.

There is Always Hope

There are some pretty heavy moments in Tolkien’s writing. There are good people who suffer, while others give in to the darkness, but no matter how far a character falls there is still always hope and the opportunity of forgiveness. Even a character like Boromir, who betrays his companions, ends up finding redemption in the end. For Christians, the message of hope is a powerful one, and it is very comforting to find it within the pages of The Lord of the Rings. There is a quote in The Return of the King where Pippin asks Gandalf if there any hope for them, “There was never much hope,” the wizard replies, “Only a fool’s hope.” And yet, that is all that’s really needed. Despite all the adversity we might face in life, God’s grace is still present, and no matter what we’ve done he can still use us to demonstrate His glory. One of Tolkien’s greatest gifts to his readers was the message that hope exists, even when we're faced with overwhelming odds.

Publication date: December 12, 2012