The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say. (J.R.R. Tolkien)
The blind man said, “Teacher, I want to see.” Jesus said, “Go, your faith has healed you.” At once, he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus on the way. (Mark 10:51-52; context)
What emotions do you feel when things begin to fall into place after a time of swirling and turmoil? Relief? Excitement? Trepidation? Peace? Joy? When you move from a place of relative difficulty to a place of relative ease, how do you respond? If you laid your life out on a road, what would that road look like and where would you currently be on it? When we move from a state of turmoil to one where things start falling into place, we may be tempted to think that the long road is finally coming to an end. But even if the road getting to that point has been long, it is, in truth, still just the beginning.
(Okay, just a quick warning: I’m about to talk about The Lord of the Rings, and I’m going to talk about the book, not the movie, so stay with me. Don’t worry if you never read them. My point will be clear either way.)
You might feel like one of the hobbits upon getting to Bree. You have escaped from Black Riders. You have gotten hopelessly lost in the Old Forest. A mean, old willow tree has suffocated and drowned you. Tom Bombadil has found you. And the Barrow-Wights have very nearly succeeded in ending your journey for good. But the story has hardly begun, and these first adventures merely point to ones greater and more harrowing down the road.
Our roads do not contain trolls and elves and wizards, but they are of mystical quality. We may not encounter armies of orcs and great cavalries of men, but we will find high adventure. Our roads are spirituals ones. They are long, and the end is far off…
Dear God, you are with me through the ups and downs of my life. Help me to seek you both in the good times and in the bad, and help me never to be complacent on my journey. In Jesus Christ’s name I pray. Amen.
I leave this moment with you, God, rejoicing that you walk with me on the road, you stand at the end of the road, and you, indeed, are the road.