Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Of Houses and Hobbits

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on: you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of — throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.
~CS Lewis
We all have a few problems we know need fixing; areas of our life that could stand some "improvement."  It isn't any surprise then that those things change as we grow closer to Jesus and more involved with doing His will.  It does surprise us though when other things start happening.  Or at least it does me.  I like controlling my life, and ever since I started following Jesus, I've found I have less and less control over it.

I sometimes feel a bit like Bilbo Baggins at the first part of the Hobbit movie. Nice quiet life with everything nice and tidy and organized.  He thinks he is happy and most likely has plans for his life.  Safe plans.  Easy plans.  Respectable plans.

Then Gandalf shows up.  The conversation goes oddly and the wizard leaves.  Later, Bilbo gets a knock on his door and opens it to find a dwarf.  He lets him in, thinking it is polite.  He's followed by another dwarf.  They find his pantry and start helping themselves.  Soon his whole house is invaded by dwarves who eat his food, move his stuff, and generally stress him out.  The invite him on an adventure, and of course he wants nothing to do with it.  Adventures aren't very respectable.

Morning comes and he's changed his mind and Bilbo Baggins is off on an adventure.  It is a scary adventure!  There are plenty of times he and his companions are terribly scared.  They are uncomfortable and cold and miserable.  They are chased by all sorts of evil creatures and nearly die on several occasions.  At the same time, he's exposed to beautiful places and things and people he could have never imagined at home.

In the end, Bilbo returns home safely.  He's not considered respectable anymore, but  he's a totally changed hobbit.  Life looks different to Bilbo than everyone else.  And if you follow the story all the way through, Bilbo's little adventure leads to a much larger adventure for his nephew.  His task involves saving the whole world.  No small task!

Bilbo didn't see all this the night his house got invaded by the dwarves. He never would have imagined the adventure he'd have or the beauty he would see.  If he had been able to imagine the danger, he never would have gone.  In the end, this transformation of Bilbo affects him greatly as well as everyone around him.

My life with Jesus has been one wild ride, with plenty of adventures that have been both frightening and beautiful.  I am very happy!  And I'll try to remember this the next time something He's doing "hurts abominably," as Lewis writes.

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

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