I thought about some of the words of Merry and Sam as they were in hard situations. Sam was deciding whether or not he should stay behind and be with his fallen master, or go back, or go on alone. He chose to go on and leave his master. His new calling was to carry the Ring to the Crack of Doom to destroy it since (as he thought) the rest of the Company had perished. Callings are never completely our choice; God puts it in our heart to do something and we do it—or destroy ourselves in not following it. Think of Jonah; God gave him a calling and he fled from it, literally. But God brought providential and terrible consequences on him for not doing His will. But God was pleased to spare him and to send him back on his way to Nineveh. So with these two examples I am happily determined to do the Lord’s work here in Africa, whatever the end may be, whate’er my God ordains is right J. Merry was also pressed with doubt and despair as he was alone of his companions to follow Theoden to Minas Tirith. He missed his friends and longed for them and wished to be with them. To him, their callings and paths were more important than his but it didn’t stop him from following the king of Rohan. He had given himself to the king’s service and could not balk now from that. His separation from his friends was ultimately used for the good of Theoden and Merry. Merry was able to strengthen and encourage the old king and he even defended him at Pelennor.  It is no chance that I read the Lord of the Rings now since the Lord uses even these books to encourage me in my calling.