"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."
- J.R.R. Tolkien -
This is my favorite poem for many reasons. But today I want to talk about the second line, because we all feel a little lost sometimes.
“Not all those who wander are lost.”
I have it written on my car, in my room, and probably a couple other places. I just love the reminder that is to me of God’s faithfulness. When the Israelites wandered around in the desert I bet they felt pretty lost and hopeless at times. They didn’t know where the were or where they were going. So they complained a lot. Wouldn’t you? Shoot! We complain now when God doesn’t tell us His plans!
But think about who was leading the Israelites, leading us. We may wander… but we are NEVER lost. Ever. Just look at these passages…
When they were few in number,
of little account, and sojourners in it,
wandering from nation to nation,
from one kingdom to another people,
he allowed no one to oppress them;
he rebuked kings on their account,
saying, “Touch not my anointed ones,
do my prophets no harm!”
- Psalm 105:12-15 -
Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the Lord for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
- Psalm 107:4-8 -
Do you see it? God protecting His people, leading them, delivering them, and providing for their every need. Never lost. But wandering? Yes. God has lessons to teach us in the unknown, in our wandering. But He always has a plan for it and He always knows where we are. Such a comforting thought!
Second moral to the story: Next time you're looking for a quote, maybe you should hit up wise old Tolkien and slap a Lord of the Rings quote on something. That would make this nerd very happy.