But epic films based on books I have read and loved are a different story. And so, although I anticipated the gory fight scenes and a drawn out story (after all, Peter Jackson is making one book into three movies), I went to see The Hobbit.
The fight scenes were tedious, but I was able to glean something from them. The reason I endure them in The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy is because I know who wins the battle. I still fret over potential loss of lives or resources or whether Galadriel’s birds will arrive on time, but I can root for the hero with no concern that his life will be lost. I just anxiously await the resolution to his current problem. Even though I know the battle scenes are part of the story, I want to avoid them.
It can be like that in life, too. The Bible is clear that the Christian life is a life of spiritual warfare. It speaks of armor (Ephesians 6:10-18), of men equipped for battle, of war (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). In 1 Peter 5:8, we are told to resist the devil, who is looking for someone to devour. But we also know that victory is already ours if we are in Christ Jesus. When he died and rose again, Jesus Christ won not just the battle, but the whole war. With his perfect life he conquered sin, with his humble death he paid the price, and with his resurrection he conquered death. With his return, which is as sure as the sun rises in the east, he’ll conquer Satan once and for all.
In the meantime, we must battle.
The Hobbit made me wonder if God sees my battles as tedious. Since victory is certain, they should be exciting and easy, right? I have the Holy Spirit, the power to overcome! Well, the scripture has something to say about that, too. Resistance is never futile, fighting is never in vain. There are only victories on God’s side.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(James 1:2-4 ESV)
It may not be quick, it probably will not be easy. But God doesn’t see it as tedious, either. He sees the bigger picture: a joy ful and steadfast person, and he uses every moment of the battle to bring about the full effect. And these verses only share a part of the great story. The other, and better, part is that God is glorified in our battles. That in itself wins more battles we may not even know about.
Photo Credit: loopoboy 2.0