You know something is good literature when you can read about a hobit's conversation with a wizard in The Shire of Middle-earth, and feel that you completely identify. Towards the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring, when Frodo is just getting a hint of what it will mean to be the bearer of the ring, Gandalf tells him about the dark and evil times that have come upon Middle-earth.
'I wish it need not have happened in my time,' said Frodo.
'So do I,' said Gandalf, 'and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.'I felt for a moment that I was Frodo. Life can be so hard sometimes. Ministry in the inner city can be difficult and mind-numbingly overwhelming. The world is full of distressing realities. Sometimes I feel too small for the task and wish that these were not challenges for our time. But, that's not a new feeling. The world has been full of terrible realities since Adam and Eve succumbed to the lies of the Serpent. And since then many overwhelmed and reluctant people have had to face each day with the resolve to do whatever it takes and risk it all to adequately meet the needs of their time.
I think if Frodo had really known what was to come he could never have found the courage to make the journey, but he mustered up just enough strength to do what he had to for that day. I think God, in His mercy, only asks us to focus on meeting the challenges He sets before us each day. And, little by little, if we are faithful, we will not be able to believe the things we have accomplished.
We can't choose the challenges presented to us, but we can choose to find just enough resolve to make a difference today and through God's grace we may be able to change the world.