In the award-winning film series, Lord of the Rings, Frodo’s travelling companion, the Hobbit Sam, has some memorable lines that resonate with the human condition. One of my favourite quotes by Sam reads like this,
“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door.
You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet,
there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
I can relate. It seems that at least once every week I get side-swiped by the unexpected.
Sometimes it’s rather minor, like my accountant calls to say CRA is doing a tax reassessment. (Don’t you just hate when that happens!)
But occasionally, as Sam says, it’s a dangerous business going “out your door” into life.
- Your physician calls with a diagnosis that throws you for a loop.
- You hear the bank manager say they want to call your loan.
- Your child’s teacher calls with disturbing school news.
- Your spouse shocks you with, “I want a divorce.”
I remember watching an expert kayaker navigating the turbulent Kananaskis River, rowing feverishly behind a large boulder as he attempted to stay upright. But the current caught him unawares and suddenly he flipped upside down. It was a powerful real-life metaphor.
Life is full of turbulent white water that rocks our personal world. As Sam says, “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your front door.”
How do we navigate the fear-filled, unexpected currents of life? Maybe there’s a business coach we can call, a TED talk we can listen to, a counsellor we can engage. Maybe there’s a book, a seminar, or a board member we can consult.
These are all good resources…and in our moments of turbulence, we should prudently consult with the experts. But as committed Christ-followers, there’s one resource we cannot fail to call upon when the white water of life engulfs us.
Consider how Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, responded one day when he woke up to hear his advisors tell him, “A vast army is coming against you.” (2 Chronicles 20:2)
This is no small sideswipe. An immense army is about to invade, massacring the Judean soldiers, raping the women, desecrating the land. It doesn’t get any bigger than this.
How does Jehoshaphat react? He did what all of us should do when we get the unnerving email or the disturbing phone call. He prayed. And here’s what he said,
“O Lord, God of our father. Are you not the God who is in heaven?
In other words, you know all things, you see my dilemma.
And then he prays, “Power and might are in your hand.”
In other words, you have all the resources to help us in our white-water moment.
And finally, he humbly acknowledges, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
In other words, we are trusting in you for your intervention. (2 Chronicles 20:1-12)
Friends, this is the paradigm prayer for our white water moments. Simply put, it reads like this,
We can’t. You can. So help.”
One of my favourite white water prayers is by Nehemiah. We don’t know what he said as his fears rose up. He simply breathed an inward prayer to God.
As cupbearer to King Artaxerxes, he brought wine to the king. But his heart was despondent at the news of Jerusalem having been sacked. And as he went in to serve the king his sadness was evident. The king inquires, “Why is your face so sad? You are not ill.”
Nehemiah tells us, “I was very much afraid.” In other words, “Am I about to lose my feet?”
In response, the king says, “What do you want?” What I read next always inspires me.
“Then I prayed to the God of heaven and answered the king.” (Nehemiah 2:4)
Yes, it’s a dangerous business “going out the door.” Life is full of anxious moments…big ones that tie us in knots, little ones that disturb our tranquillity. How do we “keep our feet” as Christ-followers?”
Our response will reflect what we believe about God. Is he in heaven? Is he all-powerful? Does he hear? Will he intervene? The answer is a resounding YES!
It’s why Jesus told us to “always pray, and not give up.” (Luke 18:1) It’s why the Lord said,
“Call upon me, and I will answer and show you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Blessings as you “keep your feet” through Christ this week,