Take it Seriously (Wanderer part II)

All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

-JR Tolkien; Fellowship of the Ring.

This poem is quoted a few times in Tolkien’s books, but it is first found in a letter from Gandalf to Frodo Baggins in reference to Aragorn, the raider destined to be King. Not unlike the King David of ancient Israel, the writer of many of the psalms, including the one we are going to look at shortly.

“Not all those who wander are lost.”  We who know the Lord are never lost because our Father is always right there with us. Either by our side as we walk with him or right behind us as we wander, or even try to run.

I took this picture of my grandson, with my shadow in it on purpose, because it reminds me that we are never alone. Our Father is always right there, by his Holy Spirit.

shadow resize

You number my wanderings;
put my tears into Your bottle;
Are they not in Your book?
When I cry out to You,
then my enemies will turn back;
this I know, because God is for me.
10 In God (I will praise His word),
in the Lord (I will praise His word),
11 In God I have put my trust;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me? Ps 56


The Father cherishes you so much that he collects and saves your tears. Wow, it actually says that “You number my wanderings;
put my tears into Your bottle
” God saves our tears, keeps a record of our hurts and pains. Numbers our tears and our wanderings—our pain and confusion driven wanderings—“Why Lord? Why have those I trusted turned against me? Why do I feel this pain? Why am I lost and alone?”

There is only one reason a loving God would keep track of our tears and ramblings—so that he can answer for, answer to, and redeem each and every one.

“When I cry out to You,
Then my enemies will turn back;
This I know, because God is for me.”!
Ps 56


We have to recognize that God is always with us, he hears our cries and even saves our tears, this knowledge alone can save us from succumbing to the desire to wander off and hide, knowing that God is always there to hear us, to give us courage and to rescue us.

We don’t need to run away from our enemies. We do not need to hide from our fears, or hide our tears. Our Father is aware of all of them, he cares about them, he cares about us, and he is for us—we have no need to be afraid

Even in our wanderings, God always knows where we are, we are never lost.


You have a destiny, a God given purpose just for you. The JR Tolkien poem we started with was written as a riddle about Aragorn, a man born to be a high King but living as a refugee under an assumed name, hiding not just from his enemies but from his own destiny. Afraid of the responsibility  and feeling unsure of his worth.

But when it became clear to him how many people were suffering because of his failure to fulfill his call, he embraced it and helped save middle earth from the evil orcs and wizards. Okay, that’s as nerdy as I‘m going to get here and I’m not sure I understand all the Lord of the Rings stuff anyway, but it makes the point.

There is a season to wander, and a season to take the trail to your destiny and to claim your inheritance. God has a better path for you, when you are willing and ready to trust. The imaginary Aragon and the historical King David had to wake up one day and decide to take their selves seriously, to take their call seriously.


At some point we all have to take this stuff seriously.

I was thinking the other day while I was driving home from work in my company truck about another contractor in town who is rumored to be in financial trouble. I have worked with some of the people who are there now and they are a big part of that company. I also know that they got away with a lot of unproductive activity while they worked for us and no doubt have not changed a whole lot, so I was not real surprised to hear this. They did more wandering then working.

Thinking about my aching joints and weary mind from another long day of pushing a project for the people who trust me to make stuff happen, I actually said out loud, just spontaneously as I thought about the attitudes of these men as opposed to how I and the team I work with approach things—I shouted at my dirty lunch box on the floor of the truck; “At some point you have to take this stuff seriously!”

It’s that simple. If you want to succeed at anything, if you want to get anywhere worth going, accomplish anything accomplishing, make a buck or a name, build a home or a kingdom—just make a difference in this life to someone—you have, at some point, to stop wandering and pick a direction, preferably the one suggested to you by the one who has been following you around for so long, pulling you out of the tall weeds—and say, okay, this is my direction, this is my mission, and even if it’s uphill and the road long—I am going to put my all into accomplishing what you call me to accomplish.

Dan's Ipad 268

My passion is to fulfill my purpose in this life, the one I stumbled into, Father, while you nudged me from side to side while whispering in my ear along the way making sure I didn’t miss the wonders along the trail or get consumed by the wolves and the bears that also watched for their chance to carry me off.

David concludes his wandering psalm with this:

Vows made to You are binding upon me, O God;
I will render praises to You,
13 For You have delivered my soul from death.
Have You not kept my feet from falling,
That I may walk before God
In the light of the living? Ps 56

David was a man of his word, and a man of God’s word, he fulfilled his destiny. That’s why the Spirit calls him a man after God’s own heart.

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost.



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