It’s been relatively quiet on my blog as of late, and the major reason is due to my intentional filtering of time and effort into a different project.
I’m writing a novel, one that I hope will someday grace the bookshelves of stores and countless homes. But most of all, a novel that I can call my own and put in my own home. That being said, the task is long, but it’s proving both stretching and freeing as I’m seeing a story come alive that I hadn’t even known was there.
Writing looks different for everyone: some have certain characters in mind while others think of wildly amazing plot lines. I find both those things important, but what really turns my gears are landscapes and imagery.
There’s something about a well placed image that can conjure up feelings of longing, hope, or a desire to see what’s beyond. Where a book or story is set makes the world of difference in my eyes.
And this translates into many areas.
Our world is in a sensitive and vulnerable position right now where people are either afraid for their lives or trying hard not to let much affect them. This term of social distancing and self-isolation starts to feel exactly what those words indicate: loneliness.
As my husband and I are being forced to stay home (which for us introverts, you know it’s actually kind of nice), there have been moments of fear, isolation, and even hopelessness creeping in. It’s tempting to start believing those lies.
But there are greater truths we can use to combat these isolating thoughts and feelings. We have God’s word.
The other day I was reading and I felt compelled to look up Jeremiah 29:11, the famous verse about knowing our future is secure. And though that verse is freeing, it’s the ones that follow which really impact me.
11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. 13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
My husband and I recently started watching The Lord of the Rings, it being his first time and it being my (I honestly can’t remember how many) times. Regardless, we were both drawn into Tolkien’s world, laughing and crying alongside his characters.
Similar to the passage in Jeremiah and Tolkien’s character Éomer, right now feels like we’re in a place of exile, of deep separation from the normalcy and routines of life. No, we are not forced to leave our homes, in fact, it’s the very opposite, yet we find that our situations have changed from ones of comfort to upended peace and disruption.
In regards to Éomer, he and his sister Éowyn were adopted by their uncle Théoden, king of the Rohirrim. Though their uncle gave them a safe place to live, all the while Théoden’s adviser Gríma Wormtongue was filling his mind with poisonous words, causing him a clouded sight and a passivity for his own realm. In addition, Gríma had Éomer exiled from Rohan, to roam around aimlessly with a group of men on horses, the infamous Riders of Rohan. Later, we find that once Éomer returns, he is imprisoned by the very man who sent him into exile.
This seems like a pretty impossible scenario. Éomer, a man who seeks justice and honor, yet is being forced to live like an outcast because a reign of injustice and evil has corrupted the throne.
But hope is not lost.
Gandalf the White comes and releases Théoden from Gríma’s lies and thus frees his mind. He reclaims himself and his throne. He has found himself again. Théoden reinstates Éomer, performs many kingly duties, and wipes the tarnish from his name; he proves his valor. And after his death, Éomer is named the new king of Rohan.
Now why is this important? Some of you might not be LOTR fans, which is totally fine, but I can’t help but feel like Jeremiah 29:11-14 and Éomer’s story relate to our current situation.
Some of us have lost jobs, some of us are sick and perhaps have lost loved ones, some of us have had weddings cancelled, trips postponed, financial difficulties, etc. For some of us, all hope seems lost.
But Jeremiah speaks of a hope, one that comes from the Lord and cannot be shaken. We only need to call upon the name of the Lord, in earnest with hearts fully devoted, and He will meet us.
And for Éomer, he chose not to give up. He could have sulked or fled, but instead, he used his exile to form the Riders of Rohan and helped where he could; he chose to rise above his circumstances. And in his captivity, he proved all the stronger once he was freed.
There is hope, friends, that this darkness will not last forever. And I’m reminded, during the darkest times wherever I feel most afraid, that the Lord is good, even if I can’t fully comprehend what that means.
It’s like a landscape, the ones I love oh so much from The Lord of the Rings. The snow-capped Misty Mountains to the greenery of the Shire. From the wide stretch of the marshes to the plains of Rohan and Gondor. Yes, these places are only fictional though they were shot in New Zealand, however, the beauty of these landscapes reminds me that the creator of the world is truly in charge. If He took so much care in forming beauteous things for our eyes to behold, then perhaps it’s okay to trust that He will take that much care in holding us too, if not more so.
I take great comfort in His word, in characters like Éomer, and in the reminder of his provision from the simplicity of a landscape.
He is in control. And that’s where I find my hope.
For information on LOTR, I received it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89omer