Signet Ring in the River
I woke up Sunday morning with a mother dream. You may know the kind. I’d dropped off our two youngest children at the airport. They were ready to fly. Without me.
So I kissed them goodbye and headed to the parking garage to find my car. Circling one level, two levels, I ascended into blue sky. But not high enough to reach my car. It was on a level I couldn’t reach.
What to do? Children happy to fly and me, without a car.
I’ve learned to write dreams down and think about the symbols without trying to make them speak. In time, pieces of their puzzle begin to take shape.
So last night on a snowy Sunday evening I watched the last trilogy of Lord of the Rings, for the fourteenth or hundredth time.
Two pint-sized hobbits, Frodo and Sam, carry a symbol of demonic power and authority to the only place it can be destroyed. The one chosen to carry it, Frodo, can’t do it alone. Not that he knows that. His friend Sam does, though.
It is the signet ring of evil itself. Like the story of Esther in the Old Testament, it mattered who held the ring of authority. The ring signified authority to command forces of evil or good, depending on the heart that wielded its power.
In Esther’s story, a villain named Haman wore the king’s signet ring. In his hands, it fueled a plot to wipe out the Jewish people. That wasn’t God’s will. But evil held the ring of authority, and therefore its resources, to destroy.
By God’s design, Esther came into the king’s court. That ring was in the wrong hands. But wickedness wouldn’t let it go without a fight. Too much was a stake. It was an impossible battle against an evil so large that mere humans, or hobbits, were doomed from the start.
Except for an unexpected force. One that arrived when all was lost.
Our quick answer is God. Well, yes, but how did God show up? Did He come with a thunderous force of warring angels who scared the hell out of the enemy, ripped off the signet ring and placed it on the hand of righteousness?
Not exactly. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo carried the ring. That might have been good news except for one problem. Carrying that ring attracted the attention of the evil who owned it.
Sam came along for the ride. We don’t know why. He didn’t come as a ministry partner or business associate. He wasn’t promised great reward or fame. In fact, it didn’t take long to attract some nasty shrouds with murder on their minds and fast horses to boot.
He came as a friend. Sam knew what Frodo carried. But he didn’t come to protect just the carrier. He came to protect his friend.
I John 4:19 says this.
We can love, because He loved us first.
We can love.
That sentence amazes me. I can love?
Well, of course, I can love my husband, our kids, our grandkids. We have a host of people we love. Still, when the furnace of hell rages all around, I wonder. How deep do those love waters flow when fire licks its peaceful shores?
I may not understand that it is hell tempting me to say, “you didn’t do this, you said that, my feelings are hurt, the nerve of you…”
So what is the message of Frodo and Sam, unlikely stars of a world-wide war of evil against good? They were little nobodies who won over impossible odds bent on inevitable destruction. What was their defining quality?
They loved each other. In that love, they joined hands with the unfathomable and the unconquered.
For the sake of love, for the sake of truth, for the sake of all that was right, they conquered as friends.
In my dream – after I’d searched for my car and knew I couldn’t find it alone, I stopped at a place of new construction and asked for help. The site was a mess. I stepped over concrete, lumber, and heavy machinery. A kind person met me there. He didn’t call me stupid. He affirmed my search.
So here’s my take on a mother dream and a hobbit trilogy. Our calling in this season is higher than our reach. We need help. That help just may come from a friend. One who is in construction, like us. But one who affirms God in us, and one who helps us to go higher than we can go alone.
Maybe that’s what the journey is all about. The love of friends, united for the impossible, bound by the unfathomable – for such a time as this.