In the list of great epics, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings lands near the top. This classic tale has it all – elves, wizards, dwarves, hobbits, epic battles, enchanted forests and more! I am listening through the audiobooks again, and there is an exchange in the final book that I can’t get out of my mind.

Warning: This post contains spoilers. Given that the trilogy was published nearly 70 years ago, I think we’ll be OK.

The conversation in question takes place in The Return of the King when Aragorn, High King of Gondor and Arnor, arrives at the Houses of Healing. There he finds Faramir, the new Steward of Gondor, in the grips of a deadly fever. As ancient lore foretold, “The hand of the king are the hands of a healer,” so in a demonstration of his rightful claim to the kingship of Gondor, Aragorn bends down and lays his hands of healing on Faramir.

This healing process was no easy task. The book says, “Aragorn’s face grew grey with weariness; and ever and anon he called the name of Faramir, but each time more faintly to the hearing, as if Aragorn himself was removed from them, and walked afar in some dark vale, calling for one that was lost.”

After this process and the aroma of some healing herbs, Faramir at last awakens. His first words coming out of this comatose state start the exchange I appreciate so deeply.

Faramir: My lord, you called me. I come. What does the king command?

Aragorn: Walk no more in the shadows, but awake!… You are weary. Rest a while, and take food and be ready when I return.

Isn’t that great stuff? What an incredible portrayal of salvation!

Christ, through His own agony, draws us out of the depths of death and despair (Isa. 53:5; Ps. 40:2; Luke 9:22; Matt. 18:12-14; Rom. 5:8, 8:34).  He calls us to Himself and heals us (Matt. 16:24; Mark 1:17; Jer. 33:6; Mal. 4:2; Luke 9:11). The King of Kings charges us to come out of the darkness and walk in the light (John 3:21; 2 Sam. 22:9; Ps. 119:105; 1 John 1:5-7), and to be ready for His return (Matt. 24:42; John 14:3; Rev. 1:7).

Just as Aragorn figures Christ in this passage, so too must we figure Faramir. Let us come at His calling. May we seek to know and obey His commands. Let us prepare ourselves for His return and eagerly await that day.

A later passage in The Return of the King tells of Faramir willfully and reverently surrendering his authority to Aragorn and submitting himself to Aragorn’s kingship. This too we must replicate as we walk with the Lord.

For me, this is a recurring action because I have the tendency to put myself back on the throne–picking back up that which I’ve surrendered, seeking my own glory, trying to do things my own way rather than His. Thankfully, the King we serve is also a loving, patient, and compassionate Father.

This brief, fictional interaction offers us a beautiful reminder that, by His grace, we are stewards of the Kingdom. Our role is to serve the King and His best interests, bringing ourselves in alignment with His will. As we do so, like Faramir, we will find ourselves fulfilled and content, recipients of the King’s good favor.

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