Walking With Frodo Part II: Choosing Light
The Balrog that appears at the conclusion of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring is one of impending doom. This single, dark ominous entity strikes fear into the hearts of one and all.
The Fellowship fled from it. Other evils cowered in terror before it. Why, even the orcs that had overtaken the Mines of Moria ran away from the Balrog. Everyone flees. All…that is…but one.
Gandalf singlehandedly stands to oppose the fearsome foe. For a moment hope is kindled as the wizard valiantly wards of the menacing evil. Yet that same spark of faith appears to dwindle as Gandalf descends with the Balrog into the abyss.
The Balrog made no answer. The fire in it seemed to die, but the darkness grew. It stepped forward slowly on to the bridge, and suddenly it drew itself up to a great height, and its wings were spread from wall to wall; but still Gandalf could be seen, glimmering in the gloom; he seemed small, and altogether alone: grey and bent, like a wizened tree before the onset of a storm.
From out of the shadow a red sword leaped flaming.
Glamdring glittered white in answer.
There was a ringing clash and a stab of white fire. The Balrog fell back and its sword flew up in molten fragments. The wizard swayed on the bridge, stepped back a pace, and then again stood still.
‘You cannot pass! ‘ he said.
With a bound the Balrog leaped full upon the bridge. Its whip whirled and hissed.
‘He cannot stand alone! ‘ cried Aragorn suddenly and ran back along the bridge. ‘Elendil!’ he shouted. ‘I am with you, Gandalf! ‘
`Gondor! ‘ cried Boromir and leaped after him.
At that moment Gandalf lifted his staff, and crying aloud he smote the bridge before him. The staff broke asunder and fell from his hand. A blinding sheet of white flame sprang up. The bridge cracked. Right at the Balrog’s feet it broke, and the stone upon which it stood crashed into the gulf, while the rest remained, poised, quivering like a tongue of rock thrust out into emptiness.
With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools! ‘ he cried, and was gone.
The fires went out, and blank darkness fell. The Company stood rooted with horror staring into the pit. Even as Aragorn and Boromir came flying back, the rest of the bridge cracked and fell. With a cry Aragorn roused them.
‘Come! I will lead you now! ‘ he called. ‘We must obey his last command. Follow me! ‘
They stumbled wildly up the great stairs beyond the door. Aragorn leading, Boromir at the rear. At the top was a wide echoing passage. Along this they fled. Frodo heard Sam at his side weeping, and then he found that he himself was weeping as he ran. Doom, doom, doom the drum-beats rolled behind, mournful now and slow; doom!
~The Lord Of The Rings, The Fellowship Of The Ring, Book 2, Chapter 5 The Bridge To Khazad-dum~
From this point the Fellowship is caught in a bit of a downward spiral. Frodo rapidly begins to question the loyalty of his companions. If that did not complicate matters, Boromir founds these insecurities by trying to take the ring from Frodo giving the halfling even more reason to succumb to the dark powers of the ring in which he carries.
The repentant Boromir then soon dies at the hands of the Uruk Hai. Merry and Pippin, two of Frodo’s hobbit friends, are captured as Boromir perishes and carried off by the orcs and Uruk Hai.
Yes….the situation at the end of the Fellowship of the Ring could not be more bleak or despairing.
Thankfully Frodo’s journey does not end there. Hope remains. The grey wizard returns to the Fellowship some time later. Fortunately too, his return comes when the hour is the most dark as well as the most dire. It is also in this same instance in Fanghorn Forest (The Lord Of The Rings The Two Towers) that the Fellowship begins to realize something.
Sarah Arthur illustrates the revelation in the following way:
“The war against the advancing darkness can be won. But only through a power and light greater than themselves.”
~Sarah Arthur, Walking With Frodo: A Devotional Journey Through The Lord Of The Rings, Part II: Choosing Light~
Believe it or not we are also at war. Our war, like theirs, is one that we need someone powerful, merciful, loving, and just in our corner if we are to have any hope of winning.
John 8:12 New International Version (NIV)
Dispute Over Jesus’ Testimony
12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Our only hope against the Prince of Darkness, Dragon, and the Great Deceiver is Christ alone!
John 12:46 King James Version (KJV)
I have come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
Shedding Some Light
Sarah Arthur’s intrigue with the character of Gandalf as well as Jesus as God in the flesh has risen some very interesting questions.
- The Disciples having followed Jesus for 3 years, could they not see that the man they walked with was indeed God, Himself?
- The Fellowship, in their time with Gandalf, some of them even prior to that, how could they not see the potential in such am enigmatic figure?
- Did either party really true know who they traveled with, shared in missions, or called themselves brother or friend of?
J.R. Tolkien takes the form of an aged and greyed mage type and in it, he places the hope of the Fellowship that is to accompany Frodo on his perilous journey to Mordor to destroy the one ring that could give breath to the very evil that could throw their world into utter darkness.
I do not think it is a coincidence that Tolkien used such a figure within the pages of The Lord Of The Rings to inspire faith in the forces of good. In The Fellowship of the Ring, there was a party of 12 that set out for Mordor. Two men, three hobbits, a dwarf, an elf, and the gangly form of Gandalf the Grey. In that Fellowship lay Middle Earth’s hope of salvation from the growing powers of the Great Eye, Sauron.
Jesus too came into a world that was and would have remained in despair. For 400 years God had been silent. The Israelites had fallen into captivity and remained under Greek and or Roman authority. When Jesus Christ was born and brought to live upon this earth he was born no king, no noble, no politician….Jesus was born into the home of a humble carpenter.Yet, it would be this man that would be and is God living and breathing in the flesh! Jesus Christ was and is God among us!
Only Jesus is no fictional character.
What Can We Learn From LOTR?
As Gandalf fought the battle against the Balrog, Jesus has fought the war…He has paid the price so that we might be saved. Christ came back and triumphed over Satan as well as the very power of death itself!
What do we need to do to win our battles against our greatest adversary the devil?
SURRENDER LEADERSHIP TO JESUS!
2 Corinthians 2:14 English Standard Version (ESV)
14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere