J.R.R. Tolkien once wrote a beautiful quote that says,
“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.”
As I said, this is a beautiful quote, but there is so much more than just the surface. Tolkien, like C.S. Lewis, was a Christian. In fact, it is believed that Tolkien was the one who led Lewis to the Lord.
When we know things like this, we can look beyond simply the words of the quote and see the symbolism that Tolkien wove into his works. Yes it had meaning for the book, but I believe it also has spiritual meaning, and that is what I am looking at here. I’m going to look at this quote in sections.
“All that is gold does not glitter…”
This first part seems simple, and yet it is a profound truth that we need to remember. The situation may seem to be dark and terrible, and yet God can still turn it around for good.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
Situations may not glitter, but God can turn them around to be golden opportunities to speak for Him. The same applies to people. We all go through testing, and we may fail at times. We may not always be that perfect, shining example of a Child of God, but if we only go to our Father, our King, He will forgive us and make us pure again.
“…not all those who wander are lost…”
There are times when we have to wander through the wildernesses of this life. I think of John the Baptist who spent years in the wilderness proclaiming, and preparing the way for Christ to come.
I also think of Jesus in the wilderness for forty days. I think of Elijah by the brook of Cherith. We have times that we have to go through these times where we seem to wander in the wilderness to grow.
These are times of spiritual growth. And remember that though we may wander, the Word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path according to Psalm 119:105.
“…the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.”
This can be a great promise for us! When we stand on the Rock of Ages, when our roots are growing into the spiritual depths of the Word of God, when we place our hand in the eternal hand of Jesus, then we will not wither, and we will not be frozen out by the storms of this world.
Psalm 1:3 says, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivulets of water that brings forth its fruit in its seasons, and its leaf shall not wither, and all which he does shall be blessed.”
When our base is Almighty God, the winds may blow, the storms may come, the fires may roar, and the enemy of our souls may rage against us, but nothing, and I mean nothing can stand against us. We belong to the Lord, and He will protect us.
“From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring…”
The first part of this section refers to resurrection. In the legend of the Phoenix, after 500 years would pass, the Phoenix would be devoured by flames until only ash remained. The ash would then rise up and the Phoenix would be reborn.
That is just a story, but we know there is an account, something true that happened. Jesus Christ gave Himself up as the perfect sacrifice for our sins, and died on the cross. Three days later, despite all the Satan wanted and strived for, Jesus rose again!
The shadow and suffering of Hell was blinded by the light of Almighty God as Jesus wrest the keys of death, Hell, and the grave from the hands of the devil.
We can see in Revelation 1:18, “And the Living One, and I became dead, and behold, I am alive for ever and ever, Amen. And I have the keys of hell and of death.”
Then, when the third day dawned, the Light, Jesus, sprang forth and lived again.
“…renewed shall be blade that was broken…”
Jesus seemed to the world, to His own Disciples, and to all of Hell, to be broken and defeated. You see, many times we only associate the Lord with love and forgiveness, and it is true that God is love, and that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. (1 John 1:9)
We also need to remember that God is Master of all, and He is the head of a spiritual army. As kids we sing, “I’m in the Lord’s army,” and yet as we grow, we forget that we are in fact at war. We don’t fight against flesh and blood as the world does; we fight against darkness, and spiritual realms.
Our Lord and King truly is Almighty, and His Word is sharper than any two-edged sword. (Hebrews 4:12)
“…the crownless again shall be king.”
Right now, the enemy, Satan rules this world. How else would he be able to offer the kingdoms of the world to Jesus when he tempted Him in Luke 4? His reign will be short-lived though.
The day will come when the Lord will set up His throne in Jerusalem and the devil will be bound, and cast into the pit. It doesn’t end there though; the enemy will be released for a time, and then thrown for all eternity into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
It is then that our eternity will begin, and Almighty God will be on the throne beyond even the passing of time, reigning over the new Heaven and new Earth. The Prince of Darkness is ruling right now, but soon enough, the True King, Jesus Christ will sit on the throne, and all will see Him.
“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly ones, and of earthly ones, and of ones under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
Jesus is Lord!! Never forget that He is King, and He will suffer no imposter. Then enemy’s days are numbered, so hold on because Jesus will triumph, and we, as His children will triumph as well!