I am a warrior. I have been in many battles––small battles, fierce battles, long campaigns. I have been wounded and knocked down, given up for dead, but once again I am on my feet, holding shield and sword. I am tired, bone-weary, a bit disillusioned at the enormity of the battle, at the casualties. How long, O Lord? I gaze over the battlefield littered with the bodies of fallen heroes. They were mighty with sword and shield and finished well. And then I see the discarded weapons of once stout warriors who have fled.
I am tempted to join them.
But I won’t. I can’t. Though the battle continues to rage I still have my eyes on the prize. I can’t take my eyes off the prize. I won’t. Even so, I am pressed to head home and lay my sword beside my chair at the hearth, and stare into the flames.
Again I look around at the battlefield, can’t see anything through the fingering smoke. The gloom. I am alone, the last warrior standing. It seems that way. The battle smoke obscures vision, obfuscates direction, purpose, creates doubt and fear. Where am I? Who am I? Why am I?
Once again I am tempted to flee. But I stand.
Suddenly the smoky pall begins to lift. I see now that there are others who have not fled the battle. Fellow warriors. Their forms are hazy at first, their faces wan, their swords held in clenched fists. Even so, they stand. And then I see fingers of light breaking through the smoke, touching each of their heads, their faces lifting to the light––expectant, believing faces.
A profound joy floods my downcast soul.
Make your face to shine upon me, Lord. Be Thou my vision. Show me the next hill to take, the next fortification to breach, “for by You I can run upon a troop; and by my God I can leap over a wall.” For we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us, through Jesus Christ, our Lord and King.
Onward and Upward!