Rohan is not such a happy place just now. Most foreign workers have been kicked out and the nationals who live there live under seige from the Government who seems to think its main task is to make life unbearable for as many as possible. I used to live in Edoras. Our family moved there eleven years ago this week. When I lived there I was under a constant cloud of fear. It is the prevailing weather pattern in Rohan and has been for a long time.
I took my two daughters to the airport in the capitol of Meduseld to send them off to boarding school. Nothing flies East from Gondor these days so I had to drive 16 or so hours to Meduseld to see them off. After our cheery goodbyes my driver and fellow follower of Jesus, Faramir and I headed back down to Edoras. I spent a couple of hours walking over old familiar territory. It was pretty bleak. So many people meandering around in such hopelessness. No one I saw looked happy or content. Face after face was lined with stress. Lips tight, brows furrowed, shoulders hunched. As if the director of some depression era film had got a cast of thousands to all act in character for a really grim scene.
Over the last few years the hard ground has begun to crack and many small groups have emerged. They have untrained leaders whom they call shepherds. Last night we met with around eleven people from 5:00pm until 10:15pm. It was a fantastic time. They told us about the hardships they are facing. All of their mentors and disciplers have been thrown out. They are only allowed one Bible per person in their homes and they are registered. Their every move is followed and chronicled. We sang some songs and praised the King for a while. Then I spoke some hopefully encouraging words. Then Faramir spoke for a long time. We took questions and gave some answers. We listened. We prayed for them and they went out. I was very encouraged by their faithfulness in the face of such persecution. They were not brilliant scholars. They were not bold men and women of deep conviction. They were ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances and the King was enabling them to stand.
I guess I could say something about how pathetic you and I are as we complain about insignificant things in our lives but I think I am learning something else. We all face stuff. Stuff that tears our hearts out, that makes our faith look silly and shallow. That causes us to question what and why if there is a God what the heck is he up to. As I remember the faces of those few hopeful happy people in that sea of despair I am reminded that the same King is helping me to stand. I will stand and so will you. In days of plenty and in the day of disaster He will be there and we will stand. I am sure of it because I have seen them stand in Rohan. Pray that tonight they will know joy and that their faces will burn with radiant smiles that push back the darkness of a city choking with fear and suspicion.