Sam Gamgee went through a lot. As we move into the final section of The Return of the King, he is really that encouraging force moving Frodo towards the ultimate completion of this epic journey. However, the final section of this mission turned out to be the most difficult in the land of Mordor. A desolate wasteland, Mordor was far from what anyone would describe as beautiful. It was dry, dangerous, dirty and hot. However, one night as Frodo and Sam were trying to get some rest, Sam discovered something about even the worst place in Middle Earth.
“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.”
This is the clearest picture of the Christian life I have come across in this entire reading of The Lord of the Rings.
It is not rocket science to realize that the world is not the way it ought to be. It may seem that we are in a forsaken land, and there are a lot of things that we wish were not the way they are.
However, just like Sam, sometimes the answer for us lies when we look up out of that forsaken land to Heaven. There is something good that the evil on earth cannot touch. It is good even when looking around us reveals very little that is good.
If we dwell on everything that is around us, it isn’t really going to help all that much. After all, the situation around us looks quite a bit like our own situation. There were problems all over, and even if we might have different types of problems, I think we all have things that we wish were different.
We realize that there is something good and beautiful, and we can enjoy it. I see that in my own life. I can still enjoy the fact that God is good, and that goodness is not dependent on the world itself being good.
If I put my hope in people, I would need to see people being good. I would need to see people continually becoming kinder, more loving, gentler or more peaceful. That doesn’t seem to be the way it is, so if that was where I was putting my hope for something better, I think I would be disappointed. I would still just see the wasteland around me.
Looking up beyond the wasteland is where my hope is. It is where your hope ought to be as well.
 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002), 922, Kindle Edition.