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That is why Scripture can seem at times so blithely and irrationally out of touch with reality, brushing back huge philosophical problems and personal agony. That is how life is when looking from the end. Perspective changes everything. What seemed so important at the time has no significance now.” -Tim Stafford

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.”(Romans 8:18)

The quote above (and even the verse) reminded me of the fellowship in LOTR. There was a common purpose in the lives of the members of the fellowship: to slay the evil monstrosity tied with the ring and to subsequently further good with its destruction. They faced challenges along the way. Pain seemed so much closer than pleasure. Darkness seemed to blanket the light. Each individual faced peril they did not understand until they came to the end. Their perspective mightily shifted later because they were looking from the end.

Suddenly, light eclipsed the darkness. Frodo is playing with his buddies with a light heart, beaming smile, and an understanding. Now the pain made sense.

Do we not all have pain we do not understand? I don’t think we can ever flesh out its mysteries. Even God’s response to Job’s “why?” did not fully explain the reasons behind righteous Job’s suffering. “You are not God” was the synopsis of God’s reply.

We may not fully forest-593166_1280comprehend the pain in this life. Maybe such philosophies could never make sense as we stand on an imperfect land.

We assume when God guides us on the “right path” (Psalm 23:3) that they will be safe paths. But as we see with the fellowship gang, they are not always safe. There are those delightful strolls we take in the Shire, but then there are the treacherous paths we take to Mordor.

We may not know the why, but we do know that even in the valley of the shadow of death, our Shepherd is close. (Psalm 23:4)

We also have a promise to cling to: “No longer will you need the sun or moon to give you light, for the LORD your God will be your everlasting light, and He will be your glory. Your days of mourning will come to an end.” (Is. 60:19-20)

Lord, You are perfect, all knowing, and unblemished. Help me to remember the goodness of your character when everything around me seems to be fading to darkness. I may not know why these events are occurring, but I at least want to know the “what.” What can I do today for You, Lord? What can I do in my circumstances now? What can I learn from You in the valley? Impart Your loving wisdom on me, Shepherd. Forgive me for always trying to find the shortcuts that would lead me away from the struggles in the valley. I trust in Your sovereignty. I trust that You are close to me now.

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