Thursday, April 14, 2011

"The best of all of us."

"Long have you hunted me. Long have I eluded you. No more! BEHOLD THE SWORD OF ELENDIL!"

If you're not familiar with the Lord of the Rings, a large part of the story is the journey of Aragorn. At first Aragorn lives in a world of self-doubt. Although fantastically proficient as a swordsmen and heroic in combat, he doubts himself. He doubts his strength, and believes the weakness of his forefathers is passed on in his blood. He is destined to be King...but has taken on the lonely and thankless life of a Ranger.

One of his few motivations is his love for the elf-lord Elrond's daughter, Arwen. Arwen loves Aragorn, and would give up her immortality to be with him, but the jealous Elrond will only allow Aragorn to marry her if he reunites the entire world under his leadership.

By the time we meet him in Lord of the Rings, Aragorn has already travelled across the world, fighting countless battles as a mysterious stranger, hooded and cloaked, his true identity known to none. Blessed with a long life-span, he has worked tirelessly for over 60 years to achieve his destiny.

The events of the Lord of the Rings visibly change Aragorn. No scene is more poignant than the one I quote above. In the book, the fact of this is only mentioned, but the movies actually show the scene where Aragorn confronts the demon who has been searching to destroy the destined King of Middle-Earth through a type of looking-glass called a palantír. It is only a ruse, designed to cause the demon to mobilize his armies, but nevertheless Aragorn's essentially psychic confrontation with the demon Sauron, if you know Lord of the Rings like I do, is an incredible act of bravery.

Imagine that you've been chased your entire life by an army of monsters led by a maniacal demon, and then creating a psychic link between you and that demon just to say "I will run no more. I will fight you!" That's what Aragorn did.

I feel that I empathize with such a hunting more and more lately. I have run my entire life from my own Sauron. Sometimes he is lying in wait, dormant. Other times, like in high school or my sophomore year here at college...and right now...he is awake. Fighting me actively. Long has he hunted me. Long have I eluded him.

But now I can't escape. I've been awakened to a terrible...something that I can no longer close my eyes to. I no longer know what to do about the most pivotal understanding anyone can come to in life.

I am being deliberately cryptic because there are some things in this blog that I must write about and at the same time keep to myself. I hope you can understand, reader.

Someone recently said that I was the "best of all of us" in reference to the community I live in. I couldn't believe it. If I am the best, as he says, how do I have problems I should have left behind long ago, never to return?

I know many things and understand many things, but what I know and understand are only reasons, not proofs...of anything. Sitting there, in a comfortable place among friends, feeling the sensation that I was sinking, physically sinking, afraid I was living a lie because I couldn't feel the goal of my lifetime speaking back to me and never really was too much. I ran away.

I have to wonder if my problem really is caused by a demon. It would be a delight to think many things at this point. One is that by the silence I am really being a silent hero...when I die I await true delight in knowing that the sacrifice that God knew I could handle saved many others. The other is that I am so hated by the enemy that I get my very own Sauron, dedicated to deceiving me and trying to make this world a living hell for me. That's something I can actually fight.

The truth is that I don't know of any way I can find out. It's the only answer I have no source for.

There was a dream that I dreamed, and that dream was for no more.


  1. In Ecclesiastes 1:8-10, Solomon laments, "All things are wearisome; Man is not able to tell it. The eye is not satisfied with seeing, Nor is the ear filled with hearing. That which has been is that which will be, And that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun." Jay, your posts often remind me of David and Solomon in Psalms and Ecclesiastes. Your struggles and battles are nothing new. Nothing new, that is, to men who have been granted some measure of God's wisdom. It is that bit of wisdom that causes such distress over the condition of the world, mankind and their own sin nature. We are not made for this world but for heaven. Being displaced here is distressing and makes believers long for a closer communion with God, but first you have a mission here.

    Every generation has men of vision. The OT prophets in the time before Christ, the 13th century you're so fond of had Aquinas, Bonaventure, Albertus and Dante Aligheri, and this 21st century has Jay and my dear husband :-). I believe you are correct in realizing, "our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Eph 6:12) In Mark 9:23-25 notice the father's plea, "I do believe, help my unbelief." I LOVE that answer! Such humility.
    It is no accident that God has placed His warrior, Jay, in this time and place. Your "sword of Elendil" consists of nails, Jesus has already confronted your demon and won that victory!

    Read through your OT and consider the mighty men there. The prophets were frequently discouraged and overwhelmed, often after experiencing a "mountain-top" moment with the Lord. God encourages His people to remember and contemplate the many times He has saved and sustained them. We would do well to follow that advice.

    I doubt that Peter thought of himself as "the best of all of us" but perhaps his compatriots and we would. It is that humbleness and sense of unworthiness that made Peter (and you) worth listening to. So be patient with God's plan, Jay, for He has promised to finish the work He has started in you. "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (2Cor 12:9) He also promises us peace and rest, eventually. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Matt 11:29-30) So press on but remember "it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." (Phil 2:13)
    In prayer through Christ,

  2. Thank you, Susan. I must admit though that I can't find rest in God right now either. Even prayer is a source of stress and distress. I don't know what to do.

  3. Dear Jay,
    So sorry you are suffering. Hope you know that your friends are loving and praying for you. The Psalms have been a wellspring of comfort to countless believers for thousands of years. Please read and reread some of them. I've been greatly encouraged and strengthened by Ps 139-146 especially. You will be rescued and delivered, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
    Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." "Blessings," according to what the Bible says, aren't usually the warm and fuzzy blessings that we think of. I'm praying that you will feel the Lord's comfort and mercy soon.

  4. Me too, Susan. Thank you so much for everything.