The Return of the King presents a truly hopeless scenario. The dark forces of Sauron are massing in the East, and it seems evident that the forces of men in Gondor simply are not going to be able to hold out. Gandalf and Pippin arrive at Minas Tirith, the capital of the realm, and they find some men working to repair the wall. Gandalf offers some advice.
“Courage will now be your best defence against the storm that is at hand – that and such hope as I bring. For not all the tidings that I bring are evil. But leave your trowels and sharpen your swords!”
Gandalf is generally regarded as a bearer of bad news in the city, but notice that he recognizes the necessity of sharpening swords. In my mind, I would think that if you are preparing for an attack, repairing the walls would probably be important. If the wall does its job, you will not need your sword as much. You will be protected by the wall.
This is clearly not the time to just attempt to weather the storm. The fight is coming, and although Gandalf and Pippin would certainly not know this at the time, Galadriel sent a message to Aragorn who was still in Rohan at this point.
“Either our hope cometh, or all hope’s end.”
There is going to be a fight of epic proportions, and that fight is going to determine the fate of the world. The stakes could not be higher, so when Gandalf is so insistent that the swords be sharpened and the men rise in courage, it is because this is such an important mission. This is not a time when hiding will be appropriate.
I think we can see this in our own world at times. We know that there are some issues that are too important to hide away from. When people want to diminish the value of life, we need to fight against that. When people want to call evil good and good evil, we have to stand up for that which is good. We can hide away and let the evil roll into us, but that is not the courageous path. The courageous path is to prepare for the conflict and to be ready to stand up for that which is right.
It is true that not every issue in my life will have earth shattering consequences by any means, but there are plenty of issues that do have consequences nonetheless, and they can be important. We need to make sure that we do not diminish little issues either. Truth is truth, and we need to stand up for it. It takes courage, but we need to be those courageous people.
 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings (New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002), 749, Kindle Edition.
 Ibid., 775.