Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hats and Handkerchiefs

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? (Matthew 6:25)

After spending an entire evening playing host to a troupe of dwarves who seem to think he is a burglar that is going to help them reclaim their treasure, Bilbo awakes late in the morning, hoping to find that it had all been a bad dream. When Gandalf finds him, he is finally sitting down to second breakfast after having washed up the breakfast dishes left by his guests in their haste to depart (proof that it hadn't been a dream, after all) and setting his hobbit hole back to rights. The wizard has come to see what is keeping Bilbo, because the dwarves are expecting him to meet them very soon – in fifteen minutes, actually. Bilbo rushes out the door to get to the inn in time, and once he arrives and meets up with the dwarves, he realizes that he is completely unprepared for the journey – he has no walking stick, no money, no hat, not even a pocket-handkerchief. "You will have to manage without pocket-handkerchiefs, and a good many other things, before you get to the journey's end," Dwalin tells him. 

Dwalin also helps him out, though – he loans Bilbo his spare cloak and hood so that he has something to cover his head. Later, Gandalf joins them, bringing Bilbo not only a supply of handkerchiefs but also his pipe and tobacco, a creature comfort that Bilbo hadn't yet realized was lacking.

This is a relatively minor episode in the book, but it demonstrates a truth I have seen in many different situations: God provides. When something is needed, someone shows up with it. If someone doesn't show up with what is needed, they show up with something else that ends up filling the bill even better than the originally-hoped-for item. Sometimes, people even show up to help with something just before the need makes itself known. It is something that I have seen happen over and over again, and I pray that I will remember this when I start to doubt that God will help me through the difficult situations in my own life.

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