"Beyond all Towers Strong and High"

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(I am linking up my Cup-A-Tea Poetry Corner Post with Elizabeth's Poem of the Week just because in reality I was first inspired by her sharing of beautiful poetry on hr blog to try out this on my own blog!)

I had been reflecting on the poem I should share for this Cup-A-Tea Poetry Corner post, as I know I have been rather slack on them of late. Lately, I suppose things have been going at a really fast pace in life, so that I have had little time to think and reflect, and yet one cannot help noticing with sorrow how much suffering and darkness there is going on around us. Christians in many places are suffering, and are in great trials and sometimes we wonder where is the light and love of Christ in all that we see. How can we sing and hope when the way grows ever narrower and dark before our feet?

As these thoughts have been going on in my heart, I  remembered a beautiful piece of prose from, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (by J.R.R. Tolkien) that I should like to share. It  comes from the scene when Samwise Gamgee was trying to save Frodo who had been captured by orcs and taken to the Tower of Cirith Ungol. Only a little earlier, he had fought and wounded the giant Shelob (who'd stung Frodo), and met the grief of his master's supposed death. He had been met with the difficult choice of what to do with the Ring, and afterwards had pursued and fought with orcs in the tower, searching fruitlessly for his beloved master. It was in the strong and high tower that hopeful and cheerful Samwise Gamgee... Samwise the Brave... finally was overcome with despair.

"At last, weary and feeling finally defeated, he sat on a step below the level of the passage-floor and bowed his head into his hands. it was quiet, horribly quiet. The torch, that was already burning low when he arrived, sputtered and went out; and he felt the darkness cover him like a tide. And then softly, to his own surprise, there at vain end of his long journey and his grief, moved by what thought in his heart he could not tell, Sam began to sing.

His voice sounded thin and quivering in the cold dark tower: the voice of a forlorn and weary hobbit that no listening orc could possibly mistake for the clear song of an Elven-lord. He murmured old childish tunes out of the Shire, and snatches of Mr. Bilbo's rhymes that came into his mind like fleeting glimpses of the country of his home. And then suddenly new strength rose in him, and his voice rang out, while words of his own came unbidden to fit the simple tune. 

"In western lands beneath the Sun
the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run,
the merry finches sing.
Or there maybe 'tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear
the Elven-stars as jewels white
amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey's end I lie
in darkness buried deep,
beyond all towers strong and high,
beyond all mountains steep,
above all shadows rides the Sun
and Stars for ever dwell:
I will not say the Day is done,
nor bid the Stars farewell."
-The Return of the King pg. 1188 (J.R.R. Tolkien)

I think we often are like Sam Gamgee in that our struggles and the problems we face feel like "towers strong and high". There may seem like no way out. And in the midst of the difficult situations we go through, we can often feel overcome, unable to go on. It can feel like all goodness and beauty has gone from everything around us, so burdened and weighed down we are by our worries and doubts. And yet, though we may not see the shining of the Promises of God, still they shine. He is eternal, unchanging through the storms and struggles of life. "Above all shadows and beyond all towers strong and high", He is there and His love and faithfulness is like a Shield, our Shelter in the times of storm. His mercies are new every morning, every day. So, even if all is dark and we cannot feel that Light and the joy of the Lord, we can still trust, we can still rest in our Heavenly Father's arms and we can still sing! We can rejoice that the afflictions and fiery furnaces we are facing now are all part of His plan of refining us and making us more like Him. So we may give thanks and, yes, even rejoice and sing a song of hope, just like Samwise Gamgee was able to sing in that great tower "strong and "high". 

May the Lord Jesus grant us to always have hope and never give up; may He give us His Light in a dark world. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:2 (NKJV)

I think I have shared this quote before, but I would like to share it here again. It is one that really encourages my faith in the Lord Jesus through times when I have felt struggling. I pray it may bless you too!

Our feelings do not affect God's facts. They may blow up like clouds and cover the eternal things that we most truly believe. We may not see the shining of the promises, but they still shine; and the strength of the hills that are His also is not for one moment less because of our human weakness. Heaven is no dream. Feelings come and go like clouds, but the hills and the stars abide." ~Amy Carmichael from her devotional book, Edges of His Ways)


  1. This was one of my favorite scenes! Samwise Gamgee is the best and most faithful of hobbits. ;) Very inspirational, Joy.


  2. It is a very touching and inspiring scene in The Return of the King, isn't it, Schuyler. I have to agree with you about Samwise Gamgee :).

    Thank you!

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  6. That is one of my favourite quotes from Amy Carmichael (I have many favourites though!). I have my own copy of Edges of His Ways and often find it encouraging.

    How good it is to be reminded of the constancy of the Lord! I have been finding things hard lately, but this post helped remind me that the Lord never fails His children, but is holding them even in the midst of difficulty. Thank you for that.

    In Christ,

    P.S. I have never actually read Tolkien's books – am I missing something there?

  7. Anna, I apologize for not answering your lovely comment until now!

    I love this quote by Amy Carmichael as well, like almost all her writing, it really encourages one's heart in the Lord, doesn't it!

    Amen, dear sister! I pray that the Lord will give you His strength and comfort through any trials that you're currently going through and may you find His love and grace to be truly sufficient! He is so good!

    Well, about your question if you're missing anything by not having read any of Tolkien's writings, I would concur, yes, you would be missing out on a treasure trove indeed! Tolkien's writing is beautiful in the literature sense alone, and there is a strong element of Providence in The Lord of the Rings and you can directly see how Tolkien's Catholic faith affected his writing strongly. I always am so challenged and encouraged after reading or watching The Lord of the Rings, and there are so many lessons in it as well. It really depends though, how much you mind reading fantasy. So... if you like The Chronicles of Narnia for instance, I would think you should give Tolkien a try!

    I'd recommend you start out by reading The Lord of the Rings and see how you like it. The movies are great as well and stay very true to the spirit of the books, though they are meant for mature audience due to the level of violence and frequent scary scenes...


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