Before him stretched out on his left and right sides are lines of demon’s forming a line that is slowly converging on the our man’s path. Our hero knows without a doubt, that in his path straight ahead lies the Light, but as he gets further down the road, the demons on both sides get closer, as well as stronger in ranks and stature, until it is apparent that the forces on both sides of him are physically overwhelming. A guillotine waiting!
Dark ominous creatures, spitting and profaning all sorts of attacks that press from every imaginable crevice. Hurtling blow upon blow, arrow upon arrow, with one purpose, to thwart our gallant hero from his set goal. Their insults and attacks come from all venues, some head on and with pain and torment, others with subtle pressing of seemingly friendly and loving coercion.
Our man knows he is marching into a gauntlet, and the further he goes the stronger the enemies resolve becomes, and the greater the fight. He also knows that as he proceeds strength and physical ability diminishes as he receives volley after volleys of relentless and brutal attacks!
Anytime he could turn around, go back, give up!, he might even be spared, but faith and commitment to the path, dictates he march on.
Now there is a third group watching; thousands standing on the hills behind quite safe, watching, praying, waiting to see what will happen. Many of these may be even wondering; “will our valiant champion give up, or will he push through with faith to the end?” Many would help, if they could, few if any would walk along, even fewer would take his place, but all will be touched by his strength and fortitude.
Many hundreds, may be even thousands could be saved from this one man’s act of sacrifice.
The Vision Continues;
Our man presses on and with each step he takes the burden that presses him down becomes more evident to all who observe from afar. Arrows of the enemy five, six clearly lodged in his low back. One in his elbow, one in his neck, a few more landing instantly in places that would cripple any normal man. More and more the arrows hit hard. Then a spear, his body crashes face down in the dust, but pure strength of our Savior burns through his fierce veins, and this brave soldier climbs back on his feet.
He bends from the weight of the pain, he staggers from the fiery stones as they crash against him, some even hit him in his face, Bart whispers prayers for strength that Timothy may have shared, as he takes another couple steps.
Blow after blow, driving him down, but back to his feet our champion rises again, each time a bit slower then the last. Lashes form across his back like fiery tails of blistering pain, as he comes within whips length from the laughing dragons.
Bruises clearly seen through the tattered remnants of clothing hanging from his failing physical frame. The spit that flies from many of the so-called friends finds its way to land on his flesh, in his eyes as it mixes with his own tears, tears for them. He tries so desperately hard to disregard its acid burning sting. A few steps further.
A frame hunched over by the weight of the increasing attack, the weight of the ungodly wishes mimicking in number the prayers of the believers supporting him. His spirit never faltering, his mind pressing towards the light, willing his body further, a body longing to just lay down. Another step.
As he comes close to the point where the two converging lines of demons begin to compress in on both sides, finally within arms length, the frenzy of the foul attacks escalades to the point of almost insect like madness. A knee buckles but he pulls forward with what remaining strength he can muster from the other, balancing on one good arm.
The physical body of our lone hero is so beaten down, bloodied by a relentless stream of countless arrow bombardment, bruised by seemingly unending assault of club and fist, that his physical stature resembles more of a crawling beaten animal then a once nobel man. Yet he crawls on, one horrifically painful stride after another, one pull of his arms, nearly dragging his almost lifeless legs.
Demons now literally engulf him and as they all bear down on their prey, smiles of ecstatic frenzy actually begin to cross a few of their faces, victory seems assured.
From beneath the heap of squirming filth, and animal onslaught, I begin to see a second shape take form. Expanding shoulders of power, what appears to be muscular arms, and thunderous legs of ripped strength, reflecting, no, emulating fiery bronze with radiating light flowing outward from within.
The figure underneath begins to rise, at first with some difficulty, yet with increasing ease and speed. First to his knees, arms press the torso from the ground in a massive push-up, lifting with ease the combined weight of all the massive demons that have now piled on his back in a futile attempt to hold him down.
He extends his chest below, his arms sending a ripples of muscular waves across his back, a few of the weaker, smaller demons are thrown from his body like useless rag-doll’s being discarded haphazardly from a crib by some playful baby.
Now in a kneeling position, I see the muscular torso of the obvious military officer flex under the clearly formed chest plate that has materialized on his torso, the polished silver ornamented with gold insignia, reds and purple trimmed, moves effortlessly over the massive muscles that flex beneath.
As the officers insignia form on his shoulders, there is a clear shudder through the enemies camp, it flows through the ranks like a tsunami, raising immediately an expression of fear and agitation, once swollen never settling back.
For the first time I see the fear take form in the eyes and faces of the demons reflected off the perfection of the suit, as they cling in clear fright to the man. His strong muscular neck extends slowly, capped with a helmet that barely contains the power that presses to explode from beneath. He flexes his neck once to the left, then to the right as he lifts his eyes up to the sky for just a moment of reverence.
For the first time I notice the war sandal’s appear, they seem to be strangling the powerful calfs, those tree-trunk-like legs are a constricted tensing ball of bronze dynamite waiting in mounting pressure for sudden release like a bottled up volcano.
The clear image of a shield strapped to his left arm and a blazing white sword in his right hand. Belt holding tightly the chain-mail and leather strapped war armor that rests snugly against his strong body.
Our hero raises to his feet with little or no effort, enemy spills off him as easily as dry leaves would fall from a playful father standing out of a pile his children just buried him in. He extends his back in confident attention, turns only for a brief moment to assess the enemy, with strong jaw set, and eyes sharp and squinting to the prey, there is but a moment of faint snicker, again sending repeated shrill of horror into the would be predators.
Immediately the horde surges and our man flies into action like a flash of brilliant lightning.
With blinding speed and deadly accuracy he spins on legs of pillared strength, muscles responding with a crack of thunder, he slices tens of throats with a single sweep of the sword and simultaneously drives the shield into the other direction smashing the opposing attackers right back into the faces of the ranks they just thrusted from. He takes a step, then another forward.
There is a slash with fluid ease, spin thrust in piercing ferocity, three fall, parley with the shield, turn kick of blazing speed, all with an agility superior to any professional dancer, dozens fly back, many more run in screeching horror, smashing with the hilt of the sword another lightning crack, four more down, slicing with the edge of the shield, a dozen decapitated as they attempt to spring over the defenses at him. A couple more steps forward!
The attacks start thinning, and the ease of defense almost becomes casual in nature. A few more slices in full circle eliminating a few desperate straggler’s,the sword is swirling around his torso followed by accented shield, it has almost become a blur.
A desperate change in tactic the enemy tries to undercut, a sharp knee to the jaw by our champion a few more squeal off. Yet another as he just casually kicks with yet again another step forward, no perhaps quite a few.
By now he has comfortably slid the shield behind and tucked it securely on his back. Sword spins a few finishing circles and comes to rest in its sheath with the most graceful fluidity.
A few more steps forward, he suddenly pauses and goes down reverently on one knee, still on his path now glowing bright gold. The demons behind, dispersing in mad frenzy flying, running and crawling, hurt, beaten, battered out and angry, away towards the distances, to the sides, not towards him just away.
Some fading, some disappearing almost immediately, and when only a fraction remains, calling with familiar voices, so called friends and family voices taunting to come back for more.
Our hero turns to look behind over the right shoulder, and only then do I see the face of our hero…
It is the face of Betsie, Bart’s wife!
I suddenly realize the form in front of me is no longer a man’s, but a woman’s. Lacking nothing in strength and stature, no less powerful or brilliantly adorned, but clearly a woman’s body exhibiting grace, compassion, tenderness and majesty.
She looks back, for a moment from where she just came, tears rolling down her cheek as the familiarity of the fight fades.
The Medallion of Honor dangling from her neck flashes in reflection from the light from which she is headed. The Lion of Judah blazing in red hot glory, but as the coin spins in the space in front of her chest the soft blue peace of the light that shines from the Lamb side cascades it’s soft blue glow on her wet cheeks.
Slowly she nods in understanding, as if to say a silent goodbye, not from her partner, just from the battlefield. With a soft but strong setting of her jaw, she turns her gaze back towards the path they both stepped on what seemed only moments before.
Up on her feet she stands, sets her shoulders and marches on towards the light.
What is amazing is the clear skies, beautiful fields of soft colored flowers that flow like oceans, as soft breezes blow by.
By Peter Colla
“My dear Lord Jesus, help me to demonstrate but a fraction of the courage your two servants Bart and Betsy displayed. Grant me that courage in every moment of every challenge of every glorious day.”