Monday, May 21, 2012
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
When we last saw Bilbo and the dwarves, they were in trouble because they followed their own desires and left the one path through Mirkwood that would get them to the other side. The end result of all the escapades with disappearing elf feasts and hungry spiders is that all of the dwarves are captured by the elves and imprisoned in the dungeon of the Wood-elves' king. Thanks to his magic ring, Bilbo is able to creep about the king's stronghold somewhat freely, but that has its limits as well. In moments of particular desperation, he longs for help from Gandalf, although he knows that it is not possible to get a message to him about their plight. Even if he could send the wizard a message, Bilbo knows, there is no guarantee that Gandalf would be able to come to their aid, busy as he is with a dangerous mission of his own. Thirteen dwarves are depending on him for rescue, but even though "he sat and thought and thought, until his head nearly burst…no bright idea would come."
After days on end of wandering invisibly through elven halls and observing their habits, routines, and conversations, the burglar finally figures out a way to break out of the place, and with a little luck, the plan actually works! Bilbo discovers that sometimes when you pray for something – someone to help get you out of a tough situation, for example – you have to be prepared to find out that you are the answer to that prayer.