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The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: Battle of The Five Armies poster featuring Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins kneeling with his sword Sting in hand, released on December 17, 2014 (Credit: New Line Cinema)

{source}<iframe style=”float: left; border: 1px solid #000000; background-color: #C0C0C0; padding: 2px; margin: 10px; -moz-border-radius: 3px; -khtml-border-radius: 3px; -webkit-border-radius: 3px; border-radius: 3px;” width=”400″ height=”225″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/iVAgTiBrrDA?rel=0″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>{/source} The third installment of Peter Jackson’s film adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien‘s classic book, The Hobbit, brings about the end of a cinematic era.  And I have to say I’m glad.  It’s not that I did not enjoy the journey.  The Lord of the Rings films were our first journey to middle-earth and for Tolkien fans like me, they breathed new life into the epic book trilogy—in beautiful and gruesome detail.  But The Hobbit movies seemed to be just an exercise of “there and back again.”  I am not entirely sure where it took me. 

If you’ve invested the 6 hours it takes to watch the first two Hobbit movies, you’ll justifiably want to go ahead and finish the trilogy by seeing the Battle of The Five Armies, but know that its battle scenes are so long that they get a bit yawn-worthy.  Peter Jackson seemed to work very hard to adapt The Hobbit novel’s original story to flow nicely into his version of The Lord of the Rings.  When I watched the first two parts of the trilogy I kept an open mind to the changes, reserving hope that they’d pay off in the end.  When the credits rolled at the end of this last film, I was left with a lot of questions and criticisms.

Questions and criticisms aside, I was also left with some spiritual lessons to chew on.  Thorin Oakenshield is the dwarf king without a kingdom.  Smaug the dragon had taken his family’s home and their greedily amassed wealth.  He longs for the treasured gem, the arkenstone, which symbolizes that his family is restored and he would be king uniting the dwarf kingdoms.  When Smaug is slain, Thorin is overcome with his obsession to find his prize, lost amongst the vast treasure in his reacquired mountain kingdom.  The wise-elder dwarf calls this greed and obsession, “dragon-sickness.”  

“I think when God wants to play a really rotten practical joke on you, He grants your deepest wish.”  This quote, which I first came across in Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods, is from playwright and author Cynthia Heimel.  She wrote an article about struggling actors who rose to the top.  She goes on to write:

I pity (celebrities). No, I do. (Celebrities) were once perfectly pleasant human beings … but now …their wrath is awful …. More than any of us, they wanted fame. They worked, they pushed….The morning after … each of them became famous, they wanted to take an overdose… because that giant thing they were striving for, that fame thing that was going to make everything okay, that was going to make their lives bearable, that was going to provide them with personal fulfillment and … happiness, had happened. And nothing changed. They were still them. The disillusionment turned them howling and insufferable.

What is that thing that you tell yourself, “I’ll be ok once I have ___________.”  It may not be fame or power.  For many the desires of our hearts are not bad things in themselves: a spouse, children, the next promotion, a house, more money. . .  When we do not give those good desires over to God though, we are inviting sin and danger into our lives.  They become idols.  If God does not give us what we desire or in our timing, we may become angry with God.  

This is often how I discover idols in my life.  When my goals are threatened by God’s  “inconvenient” plan or “terrible” timing, I really struggle to trust him.  But it is through some of these difficult times that I grow the most, because once again, I realize his plan is better than my own.  And he can be trusted.