Endure suffering with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 2:3
DISCLAIMER: I, in no way, equate my suffering with what the men and women go through on the battlegrounds in real time. However, that said, there are many similarities.
I am a soldier. Or else, am called to be. And to be a soldier has certain known factors: hardships, suffering, fatigue, unknowns as far as enemy attacks, food or lack of, water or lack of, injury and maybe even death. There is a lot of physical training that has to happen before during and after. There definitely is a mindset in this army.
There are commanding officers as well as fellow soldiers. There are gear and equipment specific to the job. Sleep is a dream – literally. For who knows when one will get the said 40 winks. And pain? Oh, it's there. All the time. Whether from an intense workout, a training or a wound, it is there. A constant companion on the ground, in the battle.
I have all of these things to some varying degree. And yet Paul is calling me to endure. To go the distance and not give up. Three days ago I was going down. I cried all day. I am so done with this pain and being in solitary confinement. I have moved into my room again because I need to keep my steps to a minimum. All the walking around is not good for these feet of mine. So, I am alone. And tired. And have an upset stomach from the steady diet of OTC pain relievers, of which I am having trouble finding the right combination.
Because of my fragile physical state, my emotions are pretty fragile too. One look at me, and I could burst into tears. And I have. Many times. Too many to count. Yes, I know that God is with me. I know that He is near. I spend time studying, worshiping, praying and memorizing Scripture. As well as meditating on difficult passages. Yes, I am here with God. And yet, there are times that I am so alone.
I imagine a soldier is lonely many times. Out on night watch. Or in the hot desert, hiking behind his/her squad, in a single file line. Or alone in his or her thoughts. To be a soldier, I equate this life with much loneliness. And being a soldier is hard to explain to the masses because unless one has been there, one does not truly understand.
Same with pain. Part of the enduring that comes with the territory is hearing some pretty rude or uncalled-for comments. Enduring remarks that do nothing to build up, but do everything to tear down. And most of the time people are trying to be helpful – they are unwittingly adding to your pain, rather than taking away.
So, Paul is right. Fight as a soldier in Christ’s army. He is my commanding officer. He knows where to go and what I need. His assignments for me are for the Father’s glory. And for my good. I do not understand the assignments most of the time, but it is not for me to know. It is for me to obey. That is the role of a good soldier. Unquestioning instant obedience. I obey because I love Jesus. I follow because I have a relationship with God and I want to please Him.
So, I will endure. I will praise Him in my storm. Even when it is hard. And, currently it is the hardest it’s been in my entire life.
Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Ephesians 5:10