Sunday, March 4, 2012

Plan B

We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

The first major stop in the Dwarves' journey is at Rivendell, the "Last Homely House" before entering the wilderness. Elrond the Half-Elven is master of the house, and he proves instrumental in helping the Dwarves, both in pointing out crucial information on their map and in planning the best route to the Lonely Mountain. However, as Tolkien notes,

"Even the good plans of wise wizards like Gandalf and of good friends like Elrond go astray sometimes when you are off on dangerous adventures over the Edge of the Wild; and Gandalf was a wise enough wizard to know it.
"He knew that something unexpected might happen, and he hardly dared to hope that they would pass without fearful adventure over those great tall mountains with lonely peaks and valleys where no king ruled. They did not. All was well, until one day they met a thunderstorm – more than a thunderstorm, a thunder-battle."

This enormous thunderstorm caused them to seek shelter in a mountain cave, which, as it turns out, had not been as thoroughly checked out as the dwarves who found it had claimed. While they are sleeping, a crack opens up in the back wall and a band of goblins kidnaps them and takes them into their tunnels far below the mountains. Everything turns out alright in the end, though not before some harrowing escapes from the Goblins' clutches. The dwarves come out of the goblin caves on the other side of the mountains, and it is while lost in the caves that Bilbo finds the magic ring that is vital to his later success as a burglar.

It is not unusual for things not to go according to plan, as we all know. In life it helps sometimes to have a plan B to fall back on and to be flexible in case we have to do something else. It is comforting to realize, however, that whatever happens, God will use those circumstances to bring about a greater good than we are able to imagine at the time as things fall apart around our ears. We may not be able to see that far ahead, but we can have faith that eventually that light really will be the end of the tunnel and not an oncoming train!


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