I have a real life Fellowship...four couples make eight and the God we serve makes nine. : ) This fellowship formed within the fires of life in North Dakota. We have laughed together, cried together, studied together, sung together, watched movies together and prayed together. Our bond is unique and very strong. It is a gift.
The journey of our fellowship continues...and right now we are traveling a dark and frightening road. The road we are currently on is similar in feeling to the rocky desolation of Mordor.
I recently had the opportunity to watch The Return of the King and it struck me how each scene affected me differently this time than previous viewings. As Shelob stung Frodo with such a deep, devastating and paralyzing blow, I was reminded of my dear friend and the pain that has gutted her. As Shelob wrapped Frodo up in the webbing, I could see my friend as she is being wrapped up and ensnared by the pain and anger of her personal circumstances. My heart sprang to life as Sam when he rushed in to defend his dear friend. That's me! I am in the role of Sam once more at this stage of our life journey. I will defend my friend against the enemy who seeks to consume her. I will walk with her through this most frightening landscape until she can once again "remember the Shire." Tears threaten to overtake me even now as I write this. I want to take away the pain that has robbed her of the joy she once had. But I cannot...so I choose to walk through the valley of pain with her until restoration comes and we can enjoy all the good things of life again. I hate to see the shadow in her eyes that used to radiate such joy. It breaks my heart. The conversation between Frodo and Sam on the slope of Mount Doom resonated in such a personal way this time and the tears flowed freely and without boundaries. Then the conversation at Bag End between Frodo and Sam about how the wound has never fully healed and how the Shire was saved..."but not for me"...was another gate opened to more tears.
However, unlike the permanence of the wound in the story...I know our Lord can heal this wound completely and beyond human comprehension. So I carry the faith and hope for my friend that she cannot see or feel yet because the pain has blinded her eyes and deadened her heart. I know restoration will come. Because of all that my Lord has delivered me from...because I know the true character of God (discovered by many hours of research and study of the scriptures...not just believing what people who claim to be Christians tell me) I know in my heart of hearts that her family can be restored and it will be amazing. In the meantime, I weep with my friend and pray for her with all my heart and soul...fighting off the demons with as much determination as Eowyn when she defends her uncle from the Witchking. The enemy I face is just as ugly and menacing...but I will not yield! She (and her family) is too precious a treasure to allow a plundering enemy to take. I will fight this battle for her, with her, until we are victorious. "If by my life or my death I can protect you..." is my heart's pledge. And yet, I know she and I are not alone in this fight. We have a full fellowship, the remainder of the nine (as well as countless others who are part of the body of Christ) who also are committed to seeing victory in this family’s fight for freedom. I am not the only one pledging to use their gifts to wage war against a powerful, but also limited enemy.