The wizard stood on the precipice, staff in one hand sword in the other, and commanded the beast, "YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!" The beast took one step and plummeted to its seeming death. As the wizard turned in exhausted victory, the whip of the beast recoiled and caught him around the ankle, dragging him into the dark chasm. The wizard's final words before slipping into the abyss were, "Fly, you fools!"
That moment I have just paraphrased above in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of The Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien was one of the most heart-wrenching moments of the entire trilogy for me. The agony shared by the Hobbits at Gandalf's death, and the hopelessness that accompanied it are nearly too much to bear. It's not until well into the second book (or film), The Two Towers, (spoiler alert here!!) that we discover Gandalf is in fact not dead, but has passed through death and emerged a nearly undefeatable White Wizard. He thought he had died. His friends thought he had died. Even his enemy thought he had died. And what little hope the Fellowship had was lost.
But knowing what I know now of the story, I find hope in Gandalf's "death." You see, if he had not passed through that death experience, he would not have possessed the power to defeat the enemy later on in the saga. Had he been spared the fall, the fight, and the journey of death, he would have remained Gandalf the Grey and lacked the power and wisdom needed as the war waged on.
It struck me recently how that parallels my life in so many ways. So many times in my life have I found myself in near impossible situations, thinking this would be the proverbial death of me. And yet, when I allow myself to fully walk that path through that valley of the shadow of death, I do not shrivel and die. I live. I thrive. I emerge on the other side a new person; someone I never thought I could or would become, possessing a power far beyond my own reckoning and ability.
Is it painful? Yes.
Is it scary? Yes.
I imagine that plummet fighting a creature of shadow and flame and then fighting to the death on the mountainside was not a comfortable experience. I imagine Gandalf at one point must have questioned if victory would even make a bit of difference in the grand scheme of the war for Middle Earth. And yet he endured, even though he knew it would claim his life.
Gandalf had to "die" in order to become who he was meant to be.
What are you walking through right now? Do you feel you are on the brink of death - spiritual? emotional? both? Walk through it, friend. Fight the good fight. Allow Him to use it to transform you into who you are meant to be. For if you do not, you can miss out on a grand purpose that, on this side of things, you can't begin to fathom.
Can we pray for you as you walk this road? Leave it in the comments and let's support one another in prayer!
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