Battered, tired, pushed to the point of absolute exhaustion, the mud and blood drenched soldier cradles his rifle like some long almost lost lover, when did he feel so completely famished that he could even taste his own blood within his own breath? This, coupled with chilling cold, the kind that resonates through the body, leaving its scorpions sting as the only fragmented reminder that his fingers or toes even still exist, bring our not so young Captain back from the brink of clouded recesses, that the aching lack of sleep the last forty eight hours of almost assuredly plunged him into. If it were not for the stinging wind, the almost constant whistling of one or more attacking bullet most only inches from hitting home, taking his mind or heart’s flesh from the safety of his own being, would he have long given in to the clutching talons of the earth’s merciless pull to just lie down and possibly never get up again.
But a restful sleep is not a luxury for them who have been called to lead, for many are the young ones who have been called to his protection. Soft sheepish eyes, innocent in years and breath, looking to him for guidance, their hands tremble even more so than his, not so much out of their lack of bravery, but because of their fear of the unknown, for each of their young hearts have only barely stepped onto the dance floor, babies each with empty dance cards yet to be filled.
How merciless has the enemy been! For a direct attack, the demon knows he can not muster, for strong is the Warrior Captain. Deep and true is his training, strong is his will and faith, many are the skills given him long before being placed into this battle field, but this battle has turned from one of direct attack, to one of attrition. The enemy has began using the weaknesses of the young, the frail starving hearts under his command, pushing them, manipulating them, strangling them as a measure to get under the fingernails of the leadership, and exploited them to a point where our Captain is almost ready to give up. A spiritual battle!
The enemy knows very well, strangle out the provision, the life’s blood supply, and doubt will manifest, and where there is doubt, young men will chose wrong instead of right, down instead of up, lay down instead of fight, curse the light and hide in the dark, and finally begin to ignore the direction or leadership of those they know in their hearts have more experience than themselves. Our Captain can hardly bare the burden or guilt of seeing his soldiers pain, when mistakes cause loss and death. With each sulphur smelling wound, or salty blood spray taste, oh how he just longs to cradle each in life, rather than the crying tears on the winds the relentless enemies attacks. The enemy is a cunning wolf of merciless lust, a relentless hunger for innocent young flesh, the weaker, the harder it strives to sink it’s rotten teeth into exposed young necks. He doesn’t look to wound or thwart, but to rip apart, the very God’s blood that gives health and life.
Sometimes, as just now, our Captain has but a moment, a lull in the action, a small reprieve from the constant attack, but it is in these moments that his heart rests on the anguish of his men’s choices. It is between the attacks that the guilt of the children under his care stare with lifeless eyes back at him through his dreams, when the feeling of real guilt squeezes its cruel claw around his now exposed heart, lashing it’s own foul talon’s of pain with a laugh. Silent must he scream, for he can not let them see, they can not know the pain he must endure, for strong must he remain or victory for his enemy is assured. How he longed to take that pain from them, but he can not, for each in his turn, they have stood by their own choice, and fallen even so.
“Oh God what am I to do?” he prays, they say no supplies are coming, and he dares not even ask. What must he do, how can he fight, how can he ask these children to stand when he barely has enough to hold but a moment or two. His own supply nearly completely gone, do they not see the look in his eye as he contemplates standing before the pressing enemy with nothing but flesh and blood, and tear.
Sound of mounting attack, dark victorious snarls of animals who smell flesh and weakness, hesitate not and step up into the field pressing what they are sure is a exposed jugular, the taste of sensed advantage drives the attacking horde into a feeding frenzy like attack. There is almost a demonic screech or sound animal ecstasy on the wind. The Captain can do nothing but cradle his rifle with it’s two remaining shots, a single tear rolls down his cheek as he stares at the young boy shaking next to him, listening also to the boys own defiant screams at the pounding foot falls only short distance closing.
“Oh God, I have no right, but I ask intercessory, even those who I do not know, even those from afar.” “I pray for their intercessory to help me with those under my charge, your warrior interceder’s even from around the world, Jesus help us.”
A little time before, a week or two or four, a moment, a few heart beats, maybe a blink; a young woman wakes from sleep. Long past is the time when warm the home was, the war has robbed them all of heat or fuel, but more so it has robbed all of them of youth. Off, out of bed she must rise, bare feet white with cold against freezing stone, off to the munitions factory she must go, for it is her job. Not because it pays well, as a matter of fact it pays poorly, not even enough to take proper care of herself, how long has it been since she had a real proper meal, to long for her body to remember or wage a proper fight against the sickness building in her lungs?
But it seems it is all she can do, we are at war, well not quite all, she begins her day to pray! Pray for the men so far away, those on the front lines, the warriors who risk lives in direct enemies sight, and for herself that God will give her even if just a little more strength than she might be able to naturally give today for them.
She intercedes all the way to work and even while she is working, non-stop through the day, even through unto exhaustion; one more case, one more row, another pallet maybe one more than yesterday, “package it up and push it through before the truck door closes”, before she nearly buckles from cold and cough. She can almost hear a demonic scream of ecstasy on the gusting winds outside. The last one the ties barely fastened, even dangling in an almost comical fashion from its sides. She silently watches it leave her sight, flowing on wings of her prayer, cascading down the road of sight, swirling snow in its wake, until disappearing into the dreams of her heart, the rest is up to Him.
Driving all day and into even the night, a man to old and broken to go, remains in his pain; for brothers, son’s, father’s all look death square in the face, but here he sits. Tears run down his face, for he would go if they but take him, but no, he must stay. No mercy for the pain within the fall he suffered so many years ago, a time when he knew so little and why. But mistakes leave their burdens sometimes on a body or heart, with little left but scar and bone to hurtle a life’s wall to large to scale. So with painful cry he prays; “If not I, then let me intercede for those babe’s that lay down their lives for you Lord.” “Allow me to drive swift and true, and if possible give even a little more than I Naturally can, clear the sleep from my eye.”
Long into the night he drives well past the point of aching back and risk to self, screaming into the yard only moments before the last ship of the night is ready to depart. An old cripple man, steps out of his truck, stiff legged and tired, but not to much to help himself push the load out of his truck and up the ramp onto the awaiting ship, never stopping to take a much needed breath or pause from his continued prayer. A call from the ship’s Chief “All aboard”, and men stop moving as sailors begin stow rope and harness to go.
But not a crippled old man, he strains even more to push by himself yet one last pallet up the loading plank. Straining up slippery slope, his leg buckles, and year’s old pain flashes through his now bent knee, but he holds and pushes even harder. For now tears mix with pain across his face as the strain of his groans are all that are heard from those who stand near and watch this lone warrior push his burden up the ramp. He can almost hear a demonic scream of ecstasy on the gusting winds on the ocean’s cold. The last pallet set just inside the gang plank, the ties barely fastened, one even dangling in almost comical fashion from its sides. Finally as he steps back onto the deck and turns back one last time. He almost watches it leave his sight, flowing on whisping clouds of his prayer, cascading down the harbor of sight, swirling snow across a bow of a ship, a grand hand holding fast to his departing prayer, until disappearing into the dreams of his heart, the rest is up to Him.
Crashing waves, storms hurdle their unending torment against the skippers ship. Frantic as ants are the sailor’s as they move in almost miraculous precision trying desperately keep the cargo secure as wave upon endless assault slam their cold cruel fists into unexpected boys. If even one blow is successful, to a assured death a sailor would go, many a men have been thrown to their death suddenly, by no fault of their own but only because fatigue or single miss in choice step was made. How many mothers have lost a child because of the heartless clutches of the sea and it waiting jaws of death, or because of the roaming wolf ever waiting for a moment of weakness, or miss step of the helpless sheep, waiting silently for moment in which to pounce?
On the Bridge stand a salty sea captain, standing many hours longer then he should, pushing his ship on a course more dangerous than her structure dictates could, and all along a silent prayer echoes from his never ceasing lips; “Lord I intercede not for myself but for those boys who stand in the trenches, who risk their lives; bring this ship, your provision through the storm, give them hope, give them faith, keep them from harm.”
On the deck a sailor, a man struggles through pains and strains to secure pallets and supplies, for long has the sea sickness taken hold of his body, but even with wave upon wave of nausea, he will not stop, for far from his sight his brothers stand, and risk their lives in a place where he does not. Slippery deck and a cloudy head makes his footing less than secure, and the wrenching of his stomach does little help secure his stand, but he pushes through silently prays; “Lord I intercede not for myself but for those boys who stand in the trenches, who risk their lives, bring this ship, your provision through the storm, give them hope, give them faith, keep them from harm.”
One more he see’s, dangling strangely near the side, a pallet needs extra fastening, looking like it was only quickly secured, the young man hurries to tie the provisions tightly to the deck, slipping as another cold wave slams into his exposed neck almost sending him cascading over the edge into the raging surf. He can almost hear a demonic scream of ecstasy on the gusting winds as he nearly tumbles over the side, but somehow by miraculous strength or blind faith he catches with one hand a dangling piece of rope from the pallet he only moments before was trying to secure. He pulls himself in almost one motion back up onto the deck, even startling himself at the precision of the one handed maneuver he just made. So firm was his grip he could hardly relax it from the dangling rope, but never did he stop his continued recital of the prayer just under his breath.
As quick as it started, the gushing waves and endless rocking of the ship seemed to marketably reduce, being replaced by a more soft fresh white snow fall. Just as fast, the sickness that gripped his body seemed to subside, enough for a sailor to casually walk away, and in the same way a skipper who saw the same event watched the sailor walk across his deck. Both men never stopped so much as a word in the continued prayer they both silently spoke, and glanced back at a pallet sitting silently nearly on the edge of the boat, its one tie barely fastened, even dangling in almost comical fashion from its side. Finally as the skipper watches the sailor step back towards the bridge, and turn back one last time to look, both their gazes rest on the lone package. They almost watch it leave their sight, flowing on winds light of their prayers, cascading down an ocean of billowing snow and whites flowing like millions of angles across streams of cascading sight, swirling snow all in its wake, until disappearing into the dreams of their heart; the rest is up to Him.
Back at command, a Coronal listens silently as the last pleas over the radio for resupply are answered in silent disappointment, for long gone are the last supply. The needs are great and provision scarce, the relentless storms their ruthless onslaught have left resupply at bare minimum, one can almost hear a demonic scream of ecstasy on the gusting winds, the need for provisions to be given only to the most vital areas leaving pleading cries unanswered. Men are losing faith, losing life, the trickle down of short supply, robs leaders of time and provision needed for a hearty campaign. What can he do? He is under orders to, but he has to also look into the eyes of his men as he hears the cries of the many over the radio.
He knows he is not in the front lines but his heart is, and there also rests his mind and prayers constantly, not for himself but for those who sit tight with little and risk much, those submerged in the attacks and all the filth the enemy can hurl at them. Silently he prays; “Lord Jesus, I intercede, give me but a little, some provision for these men; for the Captain, give them strength, give them heart, take from me that which you might have given me, and give it to them.”
“Coronal” an aid busts through the door of the command tent, “One of the pallets of supply fell of the truck from convoy earlier, apparently the binding ropes were not completely secure, what do you want us to do with it?”
“Sergeant, you take a small company of men and get those supplies up to the Captain, on the double!” the Coronal quickly says as he adds words of praise to his silent intercessory prayer.
The warrior, the leader of men, the child of the King never stopped so much as a word in the continued prayer he silently spoke, and glanced at the broken pallet sitting silently in the back of the jeep, one of it’s ties barely fastened, even dangling in almost comical fashion from its side.
He smiles as he watches it leave his sight, flowing on strong arms of his prayers, cascading down a road of billowing snow and whites flowing like swirling dervish across streams of cascading light, churning snow all behind like the wings of a great angel, until disappearing into the dreams of their heart; the rest is up to Him.
Sound of mounting attack, dark victorious snarls of animals who smell flesh and weakness, hesitate not, and step up into the field pressing for what they are sure is a exposed jugular, the taste of sensed advantage drives the attacking horde into a feeding frenzy like attack. The Captain can do nothing but cradle his rifle with it’s two remaining shots, a single tear rolls down his cheek as he stares at the young boy shaking next to him, the boy throwing out his own defiant scream at the pounding foot falls only short distance closing.
“Oh God, I have no right, but I ask intercessory, even those who I do not know, even those from afar.” “I pray for intercessory to help my with those under my charge, your warrior interceder’s even from around the world, Jesus help us.”
He can almost hear a demonic scream of ecstasy on the gusting winds pounding of foot falls of his own heart beat, he can hardly tell. But just as sudden, men appear from behind, carrying arms of supplies quickly dispensing it into the hands and hearts of his waiting men. Tears of joy, joy among the cold and muck, joy among the pain and blood, smiles even in battles eve cross the faces of his men, but not nearly as many as the ones streaming down his own face.
Just as fast as he had seen heart leave the eyes of his men earlier, the power and faith returned into the sparkling eyes of the Faithful. Men who were nearly broken, turned and faced a descending enemy, no longer in fear but in confident defiance, with the Power given by an all Loving and Giving Father. The last thing the enemy would hear, was the last thing they expected, and it not only sent a shiver down their spine, but also formed in the darkest recesses of that abyss they called a heart; an unmistakable reverberation; “they had lost”.
“Attack” the Captain says not even bothering hardly to turn to watch, so confident is he in the outcome, he silently stands leaning against the fox hole wall looking back as an odd piece of rope dangling from and discarded empty pallet and silently gives thanks for all the intercessory warriors around the world that answered his call, at the moment of his deepest need.
How do you win a spiritual battle?
With a spiritual solution!
For Rebekah Laue
By Peter Colla
“Dear Lord Jesus, give me wisdom to recognize those spiritual battles, and even more to remember the many warriors around the world who wage a spiritual battle through their faithful intercessory prayers.”