The Real Triumph for the Christian Single

triumphAs Frodo and Sam clung to the burning flanks of Mount Doom in Return of the King, the One Ring destroyed and their quest complete, Sam thought of Rosie Cotton, a girl back home in the Shire. If there were anyone who caught his eye, Sam lamented as the lava crawled near, “it would’ve been ‘er.”

Yet even as he mourned, there’s no doubt that the two hobbits’ hearts were full and glad. All of Middle Earth was saved! The darkness had been vanquished, the armies of the West delivered, and a new age of peace was dawning thanks to their bravery and sacrifice – even of their lives, they suspected, as the volcano melted down around them amidst the Ring’s death throes.

Of course, we know that Sam got his girl, because a bunch of eagles appeared out of nowhere and pulled the pair off the mountainside before they crisped. (Seriously, where were those eagles and their convenient carrying ability five volumes ago when Frodo first faced thousands of miles to Mordor? Talk about your continent-sized plot holes…)

But I digress.

My point is, it would have been silly to think that Sam underewent those unbelievable travails just for Rosie. He didn’t reach Mount Doom to find Rosie chained there, waiting for rescue. Had Rosie never existed, Sam would have gone. Much, much more was at stake – both outside the two hobbits and within.

There are some Christian singles (not all) who don’t really have much of a mountaintop in mind except getting married. All other goals pale in comparison. C’mon – when we hear the song “Beautiful Things” and sing the lyric, “I wonder if I’ll ever find my way”, you know we’re not thinking of a vocation. It’s our code for WHEN AM I GETTING HITCHED ALREADY, amirite? I don’t say this to mock or judge. I used to be like this myself. I envisioned my wedding day as the greatest day of my life, the most important thing a person could do, and, honestly, yes, the answer to most of my problems.

There is some truth here. It will be one of our best days; it is important; it will fix some problems. And as we stand at the altar, there will be a giddy, bewildered triumph in our hearts. As if we have finally achieved our goal after a long, weary quest, and stand upon the Fields of Pelennor enjoying the rewards of our wait and toil.

But though we will scarce be able to take our eyes off our beloveds that day, I now believe they will be…secondary.

I sure hope so.

Rosie Cotton wasn’t as important as what Frodo and Sam lost – a piercing, agonizing burden with the power to haunt both of them, even though it was carried by only one. And she was secondary to what they gained – freedom and peace for all the nations of Middle Earth. Without those things, there would have been little for Sam to enjoy in Rosie. Indeed, they might not even have lived much longer.

And so, as we stand at the altar one day, I believe – I hope – that our hearts will find our beloveds secondary to what we’ve already lost and gained along the way. Secondary to the losing of the despair, wind-chasing, and darkness of life without God as the center, tossed into the fires of hell like a worthless piece of jewelry; secondary to having gained knowledge of the power and love of our God.

I pray that we love God more than our new mates.

Otherwise, not only does God miss his glory, but I don’t see much happiness in marriage. I see fear and worry, a lot of second-guessing and manipulation and self-hatred as we try to make our new spouses everything in a way they can never be. What a horrible fate. Like finally reaching Mordor only to realize the map was wrong and Mount Doom is countless furlongs back to the north in the Misty Mountains or something (fellow LOTR nerds will get it), and now you can’t get there.

Unlike Frodo’s, the rings we exchange that day will have no power. All power is in Christ.

Your wedding day is not the pinnacle of your life or the reason for your existence. Loving God is.

The great upshot of this is – you can reach that mountaintop at any time! You might already even be there. I feel closer all the time. Pray for it. Seek him with all your heart. God watches our climb with fierce pride, helps us up. Where marriage will disappoint us eventually, he never will.

After all, even after their triumph, Frodo and Sam still longed for another land.



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36 thoughts on “The Real Triumph for the Christian Single

  1. lol at your Frodo analogy. 😀 *tears in my eyes*!

    The journey of a Christian single isn’t to simply focus on the goal of marriage as a destination, but rather it should be about learning a lot about who we really are while we’re on the way during our journey. It doesn’t mean that you don’t face discouragement or loneliness while on the way, however, hopefully, we will all find fulfillment in acknowledging how God is with us during this entire journey. If we simply focus on the goal of marriage, we will miss out on the wonderful scenery that accompanies us while we are on our way. There is so much to life than simply getting married. I have a friend who is in her 50s and has never married and is living life to the fullest. Watching her makes me think that there is so much more to life than focusing on simply getting married. So we should enjoy the journey rather than solely focus on the end goal of finding our supposed “other half”. Life is much bigger than that.

    – Sherline’s two cents lol 😉

    Liked by 3 people

  2. There is more to life than another human being in our life. They can never give us what we need. They are looking for something from us that we cannot give them. It becomes a vicious bitter cycle of unhappiness and burdensomeness. Sometimes it ends with walking away from the friendship in order to breathe. That place can only be filled by God Himself. The scripture itself speaks of seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness first, and all these things will be added to you. The Gentiles (the world) seeks after the things that satisfy the flesh, and their pursuit is fruitless. Solomon says it well. It is vanity and vexation of the spirit. It is emptiness. Seek what we were made to seek after. When we seek after that real relationship, then everything else will fall into place. Let’s get our priorities straight. Then God may give us that mate that we need…

    Liked by 2 people

    • Or, as in many cases, he may do the opposite: give us a spouse and THEN let us figure out that we need God more. He does that all the time – otherwise we wouldn’t need so many marriage counselors!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Really Brandon? No Eagles at the beginning? If there were equals the beginning that would have been no story! There would have been no hidden valleys to walk through with those shattering shadows of death walking around. There would have been no shared valleys of death they had the walk-through. There would be absolutely no story and your post would not make sense without the story!

    You did a great job using Lord of the rings in a single mentality. I am single and everyone thought about Sam and Frodo being single! And just a thought, at the end of the ring Frodo look like he was going to keep it. Without the antagonist trying to steal it the ring may be intact and enables still to be a god. The antagonist gave his life for the ring. Expensive?

    This indicates to me the wedding ring is tough to toss into the lava, to be returned to where belongs. If I need another wedding ring I know the one who is able will resurrect the wedding ring made out of God’s materials not this world’s. So I toss my wedding ring into the fires and let it return where belongs. Some days I wish I had it back. Though I believe Ya, none that wait on the Lord be ashamed. I am still a sinner.

    The quest has nothing to do with marriage or not marriage. Or if you look at it a certain way as everything you do with the marriage. We are betrothed to God and we have a choice to break the betrothal, or engage the betrothal and go for it. A powerful eternal choice in the hands of Clay. This is the only marriage that will last an eternity.

    You got me going Brandon! Thanks for the wonderful encouragement to be single. We have shadows to face, struggles to be crawled through, and distractions galore keeping us from our calling. Let us focus on the marriage that will last forever!

    With thanks,

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! Good stuff! #TrueStory. I like where you said:

    Your wedding day is not the pinnacle of your life or the reason for your existence. Loving God is.

    Yeah, because, so often we are led to believe a lie that we will find lasting joy in another human. Nope. Funny how humans keep making the same mistakes over and over again. I think of all the times really close friends I have had, who are girls, have disappointed me, and I am like yeah, oh well, they are human…

    How much more putting all your hope in someone (who you are supposed to spend the rest of your life with) and expecting them to make you happy all the time, while meeting all the expectations you have of them! That’s just unfair on the other person and totally unrealistic.

    Christ is the only one who will never fail us because, well He did not sin and He is the perfect One. Now that’s Someone worth putting all our hope in!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh my gosh. This was great.

    God has delivered my heart from idolizing marriage. It is so freeing as I was one of those Christians seeing marriage as the ultimate goal in life.

    Jesus should be the ultimate goal for any Christian’s heart and in the event you meet your spouse on the adventurous road God puts you on then Hallelujah…if not…Hallelujah.

    I wrote about it here when the struggle was real:

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Definitely clicked on this for the LOTR reference. It was such a fun read with a lot of true points.

    Especially loved the last part about wedding rings actually having no power. I think people–or definitely women–get so caught up in the idea of the look of things rather than the heart and spirit of it. It just reminds me of the whole “clean on the outside dirty on the inside” parable.

    If we don`t even know the love of God trying to love others, whether a spouse or friend, will be very difficult.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Brandon…an insightful and accurate analogy.

    The journey of Frodo and Sam transcend above what we normally want in life…a good marriage…the right job…good salary…European vacation…401K for retirement…send our children to Harvard law school…etc.

    The same thing is true of the biblical narrative stories of faith…the life-scripts of Abraham through Paul are not about achieving what we want in life.

    The biblical narrative stories of faith…after a closer look…are also not generally about “religion.”

    The journey of Frodo and Sam take them up into a higher level of purpose and meaning in their lives. It is the plot-line of the story itself that propels them along their perilous course.

    The insight about Rosie and Sam is spot-on.

    One of my favorite lines in the “movie” is Sam saying to Frodo…”there is good in this world…and it is worth fighting for.”

    The biblical narrative stories of faith transcend up into the higher ways of God…and often involve letting go of some or all of our expectations to an entitlement to worldly conventional normalcy and thinking…of our “right” to pursue and marry Rosie.

    Great post. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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