“Yes, I, Gandalf the Grey,” said the wizard solemnly. “There are many powers in
the world, for good and for evil. Some are greater than I am. Against some, I have not yet
been measured. But my time is coming. The Morgul-lord and his Black Riders have come
forth. War is preparing!” (The Fellowship of the Ring, page 232)
Gandalf: Hidden Power of the Wise
One of the more colorful, interesting and strange characters in The Lord of the
Rings is Gandalf, the friendly wizard, who acts as protector and guide for the Fellowship.
For the longest time, I had trouble with the term "wizard" being applied to a work that is
essentially Christian in nature. Then I read "The Magical Worlds of The Lord of the
Rings," by David Colbert. In this book, he quotes Tolkien as specifically using the term
"wizard" to differentiate it from "magician" or "sorcerer". When I read that, things
clicked into place. A wizard isn't someone who has magical powers, but who is very
good at what they do. Pinball wizard comes to mind.
If Gandalf was not really magical, if he wasn't a sorcerer, but simply very good at
what he does, the obvious question then is, what is he very good at doing? We find that
Gandalf spent most of his time, as it is recorded, in the study of hobbits. Until the
adventures with Bilbo, hobbits were practically unknown to the world outside the Shire.
Yet Gandalf spent his life, or a good portion of it, studying these simple creatures, only
to find out that there was a strength in them that lay beneath the surface; unseen. He
knew, once the Ring was found, that if anyone could possibly achieve the task of taking
the Ring to Mordor to have it unmade, it would be these simple people. The mighty
would fall prey to the temptations of the Ring. Even the Maiar, of which he belonged,
dared not possess the Ring. So he offered counsel and protection as best he could. In this
he was more than exceptional.
Gandalf was not without his faults. He was naive in believing Saruman would
help him. Too late did he realize that the power of the Ring had already infected
Saruman's mind. Yet, he did not give up. He alone, stood against the Balrog in the Mines
of Moria. There he fell and was presumed dead. Under the reluctant leadership of
Aragorn, the Fellowship continued on, broken in spirit. Yet, later we see Gandalf
returned to the Fellowship as one greater than before all the wiser and more powerful.
When Jesus came to us 2000 years ago, he did so as a human child. He suffered
our human weaknesses, trials, temptations and pains, yet without sin. Like Gandalf, Jesus
was on a mission. The mission was hid to all except a select few, and even they did not
understand until He rose from the dead, greater than before. One day Jesus will return,
not as a "lamb", but as a "lion". He came as a human child that we might understand
God. He returns as King of kings and Lord of lords. His Fellowship shall never be
"Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels
unawares." (Hebrews 13:2)
By David Brollier