There are two images that keep coming to mind lately:
Remember those final scenes from the Lord of the Rings; Return of the King where Frodo and his companions have returned to the Shire? There they are, sitting quietly together over a Pint at the local pub. All sorts of activity surround them – oblivious to the foursome – and their story – a life changing journey over the past year. Yet, those four little Hobbits share that ‘knowing’ look – you know….the look.
Before long, Samwise Gamgee sees his prize – the woman he loves – and makes his move. This move signals the turning point – the Hobbits look at each other with one more look – it’s time to get back to living at the Shire.
The second image is that of Elijah from the Book of I Kings 18 & 19.
In this true life account, Elijah was involved in a powerful event…destroying the Baals – the false gods – by miraculous power from the Living God. Following this extremely exhausting, yet glorifying occurrence, Elijah flees – from fear – to the mountains – exhausted, alone, depressed. While in despair, the Lord meets Elijah and encourages him with a voice just above a whisper. The quiet assurance God is near.
Why these images?
There’s something about an adventure. Some adventures, as we see from the above examples are extreme and at times life-threatening. But, an adventure – driven by the Lord God, is something that carries another kind of experience – not easily told through words. And, even if words are found, it’s those who have ears to hear who will understand the depths of the adventure. They “know”, y’ know?
As is with the Hobbits, their expressions tell us it really only matters between them. They ‘know’…and…it’s ok. There is comfort in companions – sojourners.
Elijah, being overcome with fear and exhaustion, fled….from fear…. to a lonely place. He even wanted to die. But, God visited him right where he was, assuring Elijah he was not alone, and there were others waiting for him. Those who “know”.
Discouragement and doubt, along with other unseen processing, usually follow an intensive adventure. From all appearances, one might think everything is fine and back to normal when our friends return from a cross-cultural work. But, the longer a person is away from their usual routine and surroundings, there is sure to be challenges for that person upon return.
I’m grateful for those who “know”. You know who you are – all it took was that look.
Thanks from the bottom of my heart.