It wasn’t surprising while doing laundry I slipped the Fellowship of the Ring disc in the player to play in the background as I worked today. It was a scene which became common place for me years ago. There is no need to sit and watch the movies as the lines are mostly memorized. The soundtrack, the unique voices, and the striking sounds of the movie always enhanced my environment while I worked.
Each of the three movies in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy have particular scenes that rise above the rest, setting a thematic tone or clearly defining aspects of the movie. That scene for many in The Fellowship of the Ring is captured by the graphic at the top of this blog. The scene begins simply with Frodo saying, “I wish…”
“I wish…” Those two words have begun many sentences for me over the years. I have expressed wishful desires for so long they roll off my tongue with nary a thought to what I am actually expressing. Over the last number of years I have realized an increased occurrence of “I wish…” and with it has been the growing conviction such thoughts need to stop.
Most often when I say or think “I wish…” I am reacting to an event or circumstance which is unsettling, involves thoughts of concern, or feelings of pain. At the core, such thoughts reveal an unhealthy self-focus on my personal comfort, convenience, and happiness.
Accordingly such sentiments reveal a lack of submission to, or at the very least, an immature understanding of God’s sovereignty. Many of my wishful thoughts are in response to situations completely outside of myself yet dramatically impact me. In those times I must recognize it is God who orders my steps and events of life surrounding me. Mattering not is the reality I would not have chosen those paths because God allowed them and provided for them.
When I am being completely honest and vulnerable, I acknowledge it is ultimately a lack of faith. It is humbling to recognize how quickly I doubt God’s ability to carry my burdens and walk with me down whatever challenging path He has lead me to. I want what is easy and painless because I question His provision on my behalf. At times my heart is even darker. In those times I do not question His provision but His goodness. Has God taken something from me that is mine or witheld something that is good? With lightning agility I fall to the same doubts the serpent placed in the heart of Eve in the Garden.
The fruit of such immaturity is invariably a lack of vision. While I am wallowing in my self-pity I miss the vision of ministry the Lord places before me. A heart and mind characterizing maturity sees beyond what is difficult to what the power of God can do through all peculiar challenges. I find most uncomfortable and challenging situations have a life and potential for ministry all their own. All I must do is look beyond myself to those around me. More often than I can count the circumstances I seek to wish away have brought new and important people into my life. People sent by God to continue His work in me. People sent by God for me to ministry to. Self-focused eyes usually miss such people.
Most certainly wishful thoughts can be motivational and propel us to great heights of action and change. Too often though, wishful thinking is just the opposite. May my heart continually be driven to hopefulness and faith rather than self-focused wishes.
“I wish…this had never happened to me…”
“…so do all but that is not for them to decide…”