Honestly, this was a hard chapter for me to find something to write about at first. It seems a straight forward telling of an action sequence and that is probably how Tolkien intended it.
But, as I reflected on it, I was struck by the difference it made in the two shelters the group took shelter in. The first was barely adequate. They were getting wet, no fire, cold and scant food. They would have passed a miserable night in that location, no doubt. I have often been wet, cold, wet and cold, hungry, uncomfortable, cramped, too hot, mosquito and chigger ridden in the out of doors. So, I sympathize with their desire to find better accommodations.
The second shelter, the Front Porch, seems ideal. It offers all the comforts the first lacked. And, it was a trap. The consequence of comfort was terror and trial and privation.
I see spiritual equivalents’ here. We often don’t know why we suffer or in what way we can make ourselves more comfortable spiritually. We rarely ask the questions “should we be more comfortable? Is this situation guarding me from worse? What am I supposed to learn from this?” Not all suffering is instructional. Sometimes it is simply part of living in a fallen world. But, more often than not, it serves a purpose, perhaps one we may only realize long after. How would the party have regarded the cave the next morning, after a miserable night huddled together…but unmolested by Orcs?
So, before you struggle too hard against the vicissitudes of life, ask Father why they are there in the first place, and be willing to not place a premium on getting yourself out of uncomfortable situations.