By Joan Campbell
You have been chosen for a Quest. Adventure is sure to await but the path will also be perilous and filled with obstacles and enemies. Are you willing to go?
Fragment of Truth in Fantasy Fiction explored how fantasy writing often reflects fragments of biblical truth. Quests are such a fragment. The fantasy genre’s most common plotline is the quest. Like Bilbo leaving his comfortable hobbit hole to join the company of Dwarves as they set off to defeat the dragon Smaug and reclaim their homeland (The Hobbit, Tolkien). Or the Pevensies stepping through the wardrobe, to be swept up in the war against the White Witch (The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lewis).
Long before these stories were written, the Bible told of heroes such as Moses, Joshua, Deborah, David and Paul, called to undertake brave ventures for God. More than just tell their stories, the Bible also calls us to a journey of adventure, challenge and courage.
Our Destination and Map
Our quest takes place in the kingdom of God, and to help us navigate our journey we are given the Bible—the map book that will show us the path and what we are to do along the way (Psalm 119:105).
Battles and Weapons
The Bible warns that enemies lurk (1 Peter 5:8), yet we are provided with an array of supernatural weapons (Ephesians 6: 10-11). In addition, we do not face the battles alone, as one hero’s terrified servant would learn: “Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha” (2 Kings 6:17).
Like David, we will face our own giants and maybe even a dragon or two. As you set off on your quest, take to heart some of the lessons our favorite heroes have learned on their own journeys.
Commit to the Quest
We may not have to sign a contract like Bilbo had to, but we do have to commit ourselves to go on the journey God calls us to. ‘Follow me!’ Jesus said to his disciples, and they left everything and went with him into an unknown future. We need to follow him wholeheartedly, too.
Be Courageous (Even if You’re Afraid)
The unlikely heroes—such as the small, homey hobbits who have never carried weapons—teach us the most. From them we learn that we will face dangers and challenges that seem too big to conquer. Yet, face them we must. We don’t have to feel brave but we must show up and rely on God to do the rest.
Take Companions on the Quest
In Lord of the Rings, Frodo would never have managed to bear the ring of power to Mount Doom without his companions. He needed their protection, their guidance and, most of all, their encouragement. Surround yourself with friends, mentors and teachers on your journey.
Remember Your Destination
In that same story, Boromir loses sight of the end goal—the destruction of the ring—and instead tries to take the ring for himself. It’s easy to get swayed off course if we forget where we’re heading and stop looking at the map book for guidance. That’s why Paul told us to fix our eyes on Jesus as we run our race (Heb. 12:1-2).
Be Changed by the Quest
A quest is not merely an ordeal to endure. God’s quests are designed to shape us into the heroes He knows we can be. They lead us away from selfishness and comfort, forcing us to use every gift He has given us, while drawing on deep reserves of courage and endurance.
I do not know where your journey leads. I have not seen the obstacles you will face along the way. But I do know the One by your side. “Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6).
Go bravely on your quest, Mighty Hero!
Joan Campbell’s quest has led her through the portal into an intriguing and adventurous fantasy world. The Poison Tree Path Chronicles trilogy, published by Enclave, consists of Chains of Gwyndorr (winner of the 2017 Illumination Award), Heirs of Tirragyl and Guardian of Ajalon (releases 11 September 2018). Her short-story collection, Legends of the Loreteller, is a companion book to the trilogy and is available as a free download on subscription to her newsletter.
Joan’s fellow quest companions are her husband, two daughters and a fearless black hound. They live in Johannesburg, South Africa.