Failing the Test...and Trying Again
BIBLICAL POINT OF REFERENCE:
“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.”
Hi there! My name is Catherine, and I’m guest writing for all of you lovely readers today!
Recently I have been rereading the Lord of the Rings series, for what is probably the 5 millionth time (nerd alert!), and something from it must have stuck in my head. I’ve been thinking a lot on being tested lately, and when I was in the chapel today, the Lord put one line on my heart.
“I pass the test,’ she said. “I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.”
For those of you who aren’t very familiar with the Lord of the Rings, Galadriel is tempted by the One Ring, which will give her incredible power. Her whole speech, upon being offered the Ring by Frodo, goes like this:
“And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair.
She lifted up her hand and from the ring that she wore there issued a great light that illuminated her alone and left all else dark. She stood before Frodo seeming now tall beyond measurement, and beautiful beyond enduring, terrible and worshipful. Then she let her hand fall, and the light faded, and suddenly she laughed again, and lo! she was shrunken: a slender elf-woman, clad in simple white, whose gentle voice was soft and sad.
‘I pass the test,' she said. 'I will diminish, and go into the West and remain Galadriel.”' -JRR Tolkien
There are a few important things to note about this temptation. Galadriel’s temptation would put her first - greater and higher than all others. Her desire would have “illuminated her alone and left all else dark.” So many times, I desire to put myself first, ahead of Jesus and His will for us. But when we choose humility over glorifying ourselves, we pass the test, because we abandon our own will and unite ourselves with the Heart of Jesus, dedicated to His will. Not only that, but Galadriel says that through her humility, she will “remain Galadriel.” When we are united with Christ, we are free to be ourselves as we were meant to be – the best and truest version of ourselves.
But what about when we’re tested…and we fail? What about the times that we don’t put ourselves second – when, instead of choosing humility and service, we choose to put ourselves and our own desires first? It happens to all of us, but sometimes I feel like it happens to me a LOT. I’ve been struggling with temptation lately, and feeling like I’m being tested and failing isn’t a good feeling. But while I was in the Chapel today, praying for strength to endure the trial and pass whatever test I am given, Jesus helped me to find some hope and inspiration through one of my favorite books.
This wasn’t the first time Galadriel was tested. In one of Tolkien’s books on the history of Middle-Earth, The Silmarillion (okay, now I’m really a nerd), Galadriel’s backstory is explained. She was one of the Noldor (a type of elf) that rebelled against the Valar (the gods) and fled from Valinor (the “Undying Lands” where they lived), into Middle-Earth and into exile. She left because she sought power; she wanted to rule over Middle-Earth. It was in abandoning her desire for power and seeking something greater that she passes the test and is permitted to return to the West, across the sea to Valinor. Galadriel did pass the test – but it was after over 6,000 years of exile that she had chosen for herself.
When we fail a test, God doesn’t write us off as a hopeless case. He doesn’t stop loving us or calling for us to return to Him. He doesn’t exile us – we do that to ourselves. And failing one test doesn’t mean we can’t choose to return to Him, unite ourselves to His Heart, and pass the next test.
Your Singing Sister,
Check out the STRENGTH and WISDOM quotes pages for more inspiration!