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When Facing Sauron in our own Lives

posted by Susan Dominikovich on , , , ,

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We have been watching The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit together as a family.   Huge Tolkien and Peter Jackson fans.  The characters have found their way into our house and while the children do take turns playing Gollum (a tortured soul but not necessarily an evil one), they are always Gandalf, Aragorn, Arwen, Frodo, Galadriel, Samwise, and of course, Legolas.  They are almost never Saruman or Sauron (unless Sam happens to be in a particular mood).  Instead, the foe is imagined rather than acted.  Instead, they opt to be one of the Fellowship, one of the good.  Because in the books and movies, good always overcomes evil.  Who would want to be on the losing side?

I remember back to my Playcentre days, attending a seminar that talked about the power of the story and story-telling.  The speaker told us that stories for children had two essential ingredients:  there must be conflict and good must overcome evil.  The implication therefore is that the conflict will be the struggle of good against evil.  Fairy tales, books and modern movies all deal with good and evil.  And the good guy will almost always win.  

Let's be real about this:  while we are not likely to come across an evil step-mother, wicked witch or gruesome goblin, the fairy tales do mimic life.  And so do movies.  All of us will face evil of some description in our lives.  It may be someone wielding his or her power and influence over us, or it may be an evil ideology.  But evil is out there and the stories and movies show us that we have to develop strategies to not only protect ourselves, but to overcome it.  Watching my children in their dramatic play together, I have realised they are in fact learning life lessons about how to face evil.  And that we in fact can learn a thing or two as well.  So this post is a tribute really, to the lessons gleaned from The Lord of the Rings when facing Sauron in our own lives.

First, recognise the enemy against whom you are fighting.  Know his or her power.  Sauron had the ability to see with his eye and the Fellowship had to protect themselves from that seeing.  He also had an incredible army of orks and was a force not to be underestimated.  But he was not infallible and he had a weakness, his need for the ring.  All of these things needed to be well understood before the Fellowship could begin to strategise.

Second, realise that Sauron will have allies and usually it will be someone we don't expect.  In other words, watch out for Saruman.  I applaud Peter Jackson's choice to bring Saruman into The Hobbit, to show him before his fall, showing us that he started out on the side of the good.  He is the one at the meeting of the Counsel who denies the existence of an enemy working his darkness over Middle Earth.  He is either duplicitous at this stage or he is foolishly blind to the extent of the danger.  I believe it is the latter, and it is his blindness which allows Sauron to get his clutches into Saruman.  In The Lord of the Rings, we see that he has become a formidable ally of Sauron's and an enemy of the unsuspecting Gandalf.  I do not know to what extent Saruman has become evil himself (although certainly he is consumed by his lust for power), but he is certainly preyed upon and used by Sauron for his evil purposes.

Third, be ready.  Do not attempt to go against Sauron, his armies, or his allies unless you are fully strong and fully armed yourself.  As a Christian that means living each day seeking Christ's transforming power in your life.  It means praying continuously and reading the Word regularly.  It means listening to God and living in obedience to Him.  It means putting on the full armour of God.  Daily.

Fourth, gather around you a Fellowship.  You cannot fight alone.  Trust God to show you the people He wants in your Fellowship.  And when you have gathered, look at each other and recognise each others different strengths.  Because just as Legolas could shoot arrows speedily and Gimli could swing his axe mightily, in your Fellowship, you will each have a special gift or talent upon which the others will need to rely in the midst of battle.  Take care of each other, affirm one another, and love your differences because that is what will make you a formidable force.  Together.

And last, but most importantly, know that Jesus is with you and rely on Him in your weakness.  I will not suppose that Tolkien or Peter Jackson intended Samwise to be an allegory for Jesus, but I do know that Frodo Baggins could not have completed his quest and defeated Sauron without Samwise Gamgee at his side.  The ring is most definitely a burden to Frodo.  And he would have failed in destroying it without Samwise Gamgee carrying him up the mountain, exclaiming as Frodo is ready to give up, "I cannot carry it for you...but I can carry you!"  There are times when we will feel like giving up in the battle against evil.  That's when Jesus picks us up, carries us as well as our burden and fights for us.  At our moment of weakness, we are in fact at our strongest.

So why do we do it?  Why do we go into battle against evil in the first place?  Why don't we just put a shield around ourselves and hide in supposed safety?  Sometimes we are thrust into battle and other times we choose it.  But we can always choose to stay in the Shire, eating our seven meals a day, staying comfortable.  There are times we might hope someone else will do the fighting, and there are times we sit in self-defeat before we even start.  But the reason for fighting is simple:  because life is "like the great stories."  Because as Samwise says, we're holding on to the fact that "there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo...and it's worth fighting for."  And because as in the great stories, good will overcome evil.  

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