Saturday, 16 June 2012
The Lord of the Rings is awesome.
(I’m tempted to put that sentence at the start of every blog post I write, so it’s nice finally to be able to do it.)
At one point in The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf the wizard gives the protagonists a clue in the form of a poem. This poem begins, “All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost.”
Not all those who wander are lost. In other words, there’s sometimes design and purpose even in things that seem pointless. That was my interpretation of the line, anyway. My uncle, however, came up with a different explanation.
My uncle is a philosophy professor, a bookish man with bushy beard that makes him look like a rabbi. He once told me that he wants the words Not all those who wander are lost carved on his tombstone. The reason? His entire life is summed up in that one short phrase.
I don’t remember his exact words, but here’s the gist of his explanation.
“I’ve made mistakes. There’s a plan for my life, and I’ve sometimes wandered away from it. I love this phrase because it reminds me that not all those who wander are lost—some are brought back to the right road and saved.”
It makes me want to put that phrase on my own tombstone.
(I’m actually planning to have my skeleton put in a biology classroom, but that’s not the point.)
I’ve made mistakes. Lots of mistakes. I’ve done lots of wandering, and not the good kind. The good news? Every time I’ve wandered away from God’s plan, he’s waited patiently for me to wander back. God has been—surprise!—just like the wonderful father in the parable of the prodigal son.
It would be nice if a person built up an immunity to mistakes, sort of like a person builds up an immunity to chicken pox. Sadly, that’s not the case. For all the mistakes I’ve made, I’m sure I’ll make more.
Even so, I have hope. No matter how far his children wander from him, God is always waiting to take them back.
Not all those who wander are lost.