After jury duty yesterday, I watched a little of "Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" while scarfing some lunch. The trilogy is my favorite movie--I love the sense of journey that provides.
Over the past few years my boys have gotten into a series on the web called "How it should have ended." They take movies and tell a new ending, a new story. And it's much shorter. For instance, how "The Lord of the Rings" should have ended involves the 9 members of the "fellowship" leaving Rivendell on the eagles, flying into Mordor to the Mount of Doom, and dropping the ring in. Takes all of a few minutes, instead of the ordeal that the book and movie draw out.
Funny, maybe. But not reflective of reality.
Life is a journey. Full of ups and downs. Successes and failures. Good and evil. And lots of things in between all those extremes that can feel mundane. Why didn't God want them to just climb on the eagles and drop it in? Why doesn't life have those kinds of shortcuts?
I think it's because we become better people only by walking in the journey. Frodo and Sam learned about life beyond the Shire, and became better hobbits for it. Aragorn remembered he was the heir to a king. Gandalf died but was resurrected to something better, something more.
The journey of life can crush us. But it can also be redemptive for us. It can be used by God to shape us and mold us and make us more like our brother Jesus.