There, But Never Back Again

“How do you pick up the threads of an old life?  How do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand: there is no going back.  There are some things that time cannot mend; some hurts that go too deep that have taken hold.”  – Frodo in the film version of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

For a long time, I dreamed and wished and waited for things to go back to the way they were before, the way they were during what I’ve always considered my happy, golden years of junior high and high school.  But those years were happy and golden only because of my own naivety and obliviousness.  Life will not go back to the way it was before, and why should we want it to do so? that is not progress.

Several years ago, I ran into a spout of slight depression.  I thought I had moved passed that, but I have begun to wonder whether things like depression ever really go away.  I am not sure.  I don’t believe mine has.  And perhaps it never will.  Perhaps this is a burden I will bear off and on for the rest of my life.  Some years, it may not wake up in my heart and I could be utterly happy, but there may be some years where it comes back to remind me that it is not dead.  It probably never will be completely dead and gone from my heart until I myself am dead and gone.

The quote above comes toward the end of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, a sequence of scenes that always makes me cry.  Stories like The Lord of the Rings are so wonderful because of the great truth they show their readers.  The truth hits deep and close to home.  Here, Frodo is realizing that, after his long journey to and from Mordor where he went to destroy the one powerful Ring that brought greed, death, darkness, evil, and destruction wherever it went, he could never fully go back to life as it was before.  After that journey, he would always see life differently – perhaps more wisely, perhaps more darkly or nostalgically.

At church this Sunday, we sang a song called “Spirit of God”.  The third verse says this:

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Even when my current prayers are answered, I will not be finished with unanswered prayers; there will always be more.  I have desperately hoped that there would be one set of prayers that go unanswered until I am about thirty, and then I would be married with the hope of kids in the future and a nice home and all my friends and family would be at peace with each other and everything would be dandy, no more unanswered prayers.  I guess life doesn’t quite work that way, though.  In ten years, the unanswered prayers of today may be answered, but that is not the end of my journey; there will be more things for which I will pray, hope, wait, wish, cry, mourn, and scream at God.

I have heard over and over again that God does, and will, not give us more than we can handle.  That is a complete lie.  God does and will give us more to deal with than we can handle – at least more than we can handle on our own.  However, God will never give us heavier burdens or harder troubles than He can handle.  He can handle anything and everything; nothing daunts Him, nothing is impossible for Him.  And because of this, He will never give us trials that He cannot handle for and with us.  Our burdens may seem infinitely heavy to bear, but if we only tell Him about our troubles (every single one), sparing none of the gory or embarrassing details, we can get through anything with God’s help.  We need only ask.  It’s the ever-popular damselindistresssavedbyknightinshiningarmoronawhitehorse story come to life.  For what more could we ask?


Read from the beginning:


7 thoughts on “There, But Never Back Again

  1. Thanks for this encouragement! As I struggle through the support raising process in following our call to Uganda, I have struggled mightily with many of my idols, quite often causing me to put my faith and hope in my strengths and abilities instead of the grace and strength of Christ Jesus. But when I am finally brought to the point of failure, that is where I am wonderfully convicted and graciously drawn back to our amazing Savior. Thanks for your openness, praying for you!


    • Thanks so much for reading, Jeremy! I’m so so happy to hear that you guys are going to Uganda! Fundraising is so difficult, but I am confident that, if God really wants you there, He will make it all come together for you! May your time there be blessed!


  2. Pingback: It’s Not About Us, Either | Soar with Laughter

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