What can I do when a friend has to endure this? These are the times when life can feel like the climb up Mount Doom. The Lord of the Rings story ends with victory, but there is no assurance of that for Frodo and Sam as they climb. Thirst, hunger, darkness, and enemies surround them - that is all they have. They have no way of knowing that they would survive, that the eagles would come, that good would conquer evil. They just had to keep crawling up the mountain, determined to do what they said they would do.
I have two dear friends who are hurting; one with daily pressures that are weighing her down, and one with circumstances that rob her of sleep and fill her waking moments with nightmares. My prayer for my dear friends, these kindred spirits that have walked many joyful and painful miles with me, is that they would have the vision that Sam had on the path up Mount Doom:
Frodo is sleeping, and Sam is anxious. Amidst his wakeful worries, he crawls out to look at the surrounding area.
"The land seemed full of creaking and cracking and sly noises, but there was no sound of voice or of foot. Far above the Ephel Duath in the West the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach."Return of the King, Tolkien.
My friends, may you know that these days of shadow are only fleeting. May you have a glimpse of the beauty that is far beyond the reach of any shadow, and may you know the Bright Morning Star, and His never-ending love for you, amidst the dreary and the devastating.