This is a little thing I wrote recently...
The weariness is almost unbearable.
My armor rattles as I collapse to the ground against a tree, grateful for the reprieve. I exhale labouredly, trying to will away the groaning aches in my joints. My sword hits the dry and thirsty ground with a clank. After a moment I reach up and pull my helmet off. It’s dripping with sweat, mingled with a little blood. Next come the gauntlets, and now I can wipe the grime away from my eyes for the first time in a great while. I can actually see clearly now, although there’s not much to look at in this desolate place. A deep breath fills my lungs once more.
Battle was especially vicious today.
It began before dawn. The horn and blown the alarm and I hastily suited up and dashed towards the source. I was already sore from days of battle, but I had to press on regardless. While the hoard hadn’t attacked me in a long while, there were always weaker brothers to assault, as was the case now. One of us was out alone and under attack, so overwhelmed that he couldn’t even fight back as the hoard dashed themselves against him. A group of us tried to hack our way to him, but we were outnumbered millions to one and the currents of battle carried us all apart. The most I ever caught of any of them after that was a momentary glimpse. We were fighting individually for our own survival now.
Finally, I managed to cut through and reach him alone, quickly beating them off of him as best I could. Between swipes, I dragged him to his feet and put his weapon back in his hands, but he was in no condition to fight. I kept them off of him, taking many blows for his sake as he managed to get out of the melee. Of course then their rage was full bent on me. Minutes stretched into hours, and hours into what felt like an eternity. I felt utterly alone. I knew I actually wasn’t alone; there were others out there lost in the battle, fighting just as I was. I also felt His strength coursing through my veins, sure that it was the only thing that let me keep my feet. I know His promises by heart, and that He’ll never let me be overcome. But that didn’t take away the feeling.
For a brief moment I caught sight of the sideline. There I saw hundreds, if not thousands of our warriors there, standing idly. Did they not know we were fighting for our very lives? How could they just stand there and do nothing to help us? Yes, even with their help we would be outnumbered, but we would actually be able to put up a true fight! Yet there they stood, blinded by their own self-concern, worried only about themselves and their own problems. They left us to fight alone. They left me to fight alone.
Eventually the battle waned, for a time anyway. So now here, under this dying tree, I sit. Exhaustion set in long ago, and I now feel powerless it its grasp. He will never leave nor forsake. I know that, believe that, am giving my life for that. But in this moment I still feel forsaken. All is dark, and opaque clouds mar the sky. I long to be reinvigorated, refreshed. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I’ve been fighting for hundreds of years, or has it only been a week? I’ve lost all track of time, and I can’t tell anymore. Where is the sunlight? Where is the green grass? Where is the flowing stream of peace that my parched throat thirsts for? I can’t remember the last time I drank of its waters. Dear God! I don’t know if I can carry on anymore.
What’s this? There’s a break forming in the clouds! A small ray of sunlight is streaming through, bathing me in its light. I gasp in exhilaration. For a moment everything is forgotten in the blessedness of this glorious light! This, this is the way things were meant to be! Not dead, not barren, not broken, not war-torn, not battle-scarred, not fallen. I gulp in enormous lungfuls of pure oxygen, letting the light radiate into me, basking in His presence.
Now, as quickly as it came, it’s gone. The clouds have sealed the sun-punched hole. I almost shake with withdrawal. The aches set back in, the fatigue reasserts itself. I long for the thirst-quenching waters even more, but at least the cutting dryness is gone from my throat. And that is enough.
A note pierces the air, another horn. One of my brothers is in need again. On return the gauntlets and helmet. I fight through the weariness back to my feet, sword in hand once more. A part of me wishes I could simply ignore the battle as so many do, fighting only when it touches me personally. But I cannot; I am my brother’s keeper. I have been made this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, bronze walls against this whole land. They will fight against me, but they will not prevail against me, for He is with me to save and deliver. I march to battle again because I am a warrior…
And this task is mine.