The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Posted: December 14, 2012 by Josh Kwasny in Action, Adventure, Family, Fantasy
Tags: , , , ,


The heart of man plans his way,
but the LORD establishes his steps.
(Proverbs 16:9 ESV)

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is a great story.  It is the tale of mild-mannered Bilbo Baggins’ adventure with a rag-tag crew of treasure-seeking dwarfs – oh and a wizard too.

Tolkien’s fantasy world consists of men, wizards, elves, dwarves, hobbits, trolls, orcs, and a host of other fascinating creatures.  The imaginative Middle Earth is full of rich history and characters of great depth.  The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings for that matter, feel more like history than fantasy.  There is a reality to them that draws you in.  I think these stories are powerful because of this fact.

Although there are many reasons I could share, I love The Hobbit because I relate with Bilbo’s story.  I haven’t slain any dragons and my bank account consists of no gold, but I relate because, like Bilbo, my life has been an unexpected journey.  In fact, I want to suggest that The Hobbit gives us a picture of the Christian life.

The Book of Proverbs reminds us that despite the plans we have, God is at work – directing our steps.  My plans are often Hobbit-like.  I desire nothing too exciting, lots of food, good friends, and plenty of time for naps.  God’s steps for me have instead included hard relationships, difficult challenges, disappointments, and plenty of repentance.

Just a brief scan of the Bible will give evidence of this phenomenon.  Consider how God calls unsuspecting pagan Abram to leave everything and follow a God he didn’t know (Genesis 12).  What about Moses?  The formerly-murderous shepherd is interrupted by God through a burning bush (Exodus 3) .  His life is changed and the history of Israel is changed as a result.  What about David?  The young shepherd boy anointed king over God’s people (1Samuel 16)!  And then in the New Testament, we read of Saul.  Before becoming Paul, the great Christian missionary, Saul of Tarsus was in the business of tracking down and killing Christians (Acts 9).  God changed his heart and Paul gave the rest of his life away telling others about Christ Jesus.

The Christian life is often (if not always) the unexpected journey.  God is in the business of directing the steps of his people.  We may plan many great things, but God has a greater plan.  His plans do not always seem like the best things to us, however.  We are often like Bilbo Baggins, resistant to the unplanned and seemingly chaotic moments that come into our lives.

Bilbo’s unexpected journey changed his life forever.  It is even fair to say that his adventure changed Middle Earth forever.

When God interrupts our plans we too will be changed for the good.  If it is true “that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28), then we can face and even welcome God’s interruptions with anticipation of greater things to come.  The adventure may not always be easy, but it will be good.

Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
(Proverbs 19:21 ESV)

  1. […] my students.  You can actually read my youth pastor Josh’s review of the Hobbit by clicking here.  It’s worth a read for […]

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