“Grace is poured upon your lips, therefore God has blessed you forever.”
The young man stood at the edge of the battlefield. Sweat poured down his face, a bloody sword was gripped tightly in his right hand. A massive army was convulsively mingled with a second enormous opposing force. Their divisions were locked in combat.
For those in the conflict, a day felt like a thousand years. The war was unrelenting. The young man had only heard up to this point the rumors of its constant momentum and violence.
On either side, the fields were strewn with the dead and dying. Their cries of anguish tore at the young man’s soul. He had been fighting for hours with scattered troops within the forests without rest. But they had gained victory. In the victories, strength and power had entered his body, restoring him for further combat. He was now being sent to the front lines.
Emerging from the forest, however, he stared in shock and amazement. What could he possible do to impact the battle? He was only one man.
A cautious step forward was all he allowed for the next several minutes. He suddenly was insecure and overwhelmed with weakness. His recent victories of only hours before were already fading in light of the heavier magnitude of the reality before him.
He saw a dark cloud hovering over the nearest group of fighting soldiers. He discerned that they were battling a heavy onslaught of lies and condemnation. They appeared to be pushed back from the main army and were losing ground every second. Soon they would reach the forest itself.
All he could see of the enemy was a dark cloud, but he knew there were evil forms within that cloud. He could nearly feel their icy voices piercing into his mind. It was nearly five hundred feet to where this small courageous troop was struggling to survive.
Taking a deep breath, the young man charged towards them. No one seemed to see him approaching, however, as drew close within seconds. A jolt of fear hit his gut. What if he had now power or authority here? What if he was joining the fight only to end up another causality writhing on the bloody field?
His gripped the hilt of his sword tighter. He could see their forms now in the cloud, just as he guessed. The were devils, monsters of perversion, distorted and twisting like so many crooked and tangled vines. They were wrapping themselves around the soldiers’ minds. The young man realized in horror, that the troop was not even fighting this foe, but turning on each other.
He began shouting as he approached within twenty feet.
“Above you! Look at the cloud!”
No one even glanced his way. He could taste the sulfuric presence of the devils now; it was bitter and strong upon his tongue. It made him want to swallow. He did, and then gagged convulsively, falling to his knees just outside the circle of combat.
“They are all liars,” he managed to gasp out, breathing hard, and slowly regaining his ability to stand. Jumping to his feet, he lashed out at the cloud and vine-like snakes, angry now at their power over his fellow comrades.
He severed one, watched it fall to the ground in two pieces, then he watched in horror as the separate convulsive parts, reproduced into two more devils. They hissed and flew back into the cloud as he stood staring in astonishment. Dread gripped him, as he realized everything he’d learned in the forest had no merit here. He could not defeat these things with his sword.
He shouted at the soldiers nearest him to stop fighting each other and run from the cloud, but no one would listen, and tears began falling from his eyes, as he saw three of them fall dead at his feet, pierced by their own swords.
He felt paralyzed, weak, without power or strength. A groan erupted amidst his tears, and in a loud voice he began crying out with grief.
“Abba, save them! Deliver these dying with your righteous right hand!”
Feeling as though his words hung meaninglessly against the heavy cloud, the young man raised his sword once more, even as his shoulders shook in grief. He charged towards the struggle once more, trying to be more precise in his sword thrusts.
Suddenly, a powerful sword came crashing against his, knocking the weapon violently from his hands. Swinging around in a stance of defense, the young man’s trained eyes pounced on the man who had dared to come against him.
He blinked in shock as he recognized his captain standing backing up from the struggling throng, sword loose between his large hands, eyes set intently on the young man.
“Forget the sword, come away from the others!” he shouted.
The young man could not believe his ears, realizing everything he had been taught was now threatened. A soldier never left his sword. Now his own lay trampled under a dozen soldiers feet, put there by the blow of his very own captain.
The captain motioned the young man again, there was no patience for hesitation in his dark eyes. He demanded obedience.
The young man rushed forward, ducking to avoid several flaming arrows.
“Sir, request permission to return….”
“You are using the wrong sword,” his captain cut him off, pulling the young man back, some fifty yards from the others.
“Excuse me, sir, but it is the only sword I have. And those soldiers back there are dying…”
The captain sheathed his own sword, cutting of the young man’s words a second time,” It is not a battle won by flesh and blood, my son.”
The young man did not understand why the captain was speaking from the Book at time when really flesh and blood was spilling out on real earth only dozens of feet from where they stood. He fully understood the depth of what the captain was saying, but battles were won in the spirit often through flesh and blood, were they not?
“Sir, please…” tears filled the young man’s eyes,” how can I save them?”
The captain touched the young man’s chest, pressing against him firmly. Instantly it shot from his palm into the young man’s torso. Pain and pleasure coursed like electrical currents of heat, pulsating like a drug into his very soul. He felt himself being sliced through like a piece of cheese…within his very spirit he felt a dividing line being drawn. It was a place he yearned for, yet wanted to draw back in fear from all at the same time.
“You fight with what you have been given. I have given you my Word. Speak it. My Word is a two-edged sword…it slices through everything, revealing my truth. Evil can not stand or prevail over my truth.”
“My sword…” the young man whispered, still feeling helpless without its solid steel between his fingers.
“Is my words inside you,” the captain said firmly,” I gave you this gift, from the moment that sword was placed in your hands as a child. You no longer need what it has provided you, now you will move on to bigger things…this is my command to you. Speak my Word.”
The young man’s stood breathless, from the heat still running through his veins, but both his eyes flashed over his captain’s shoulder towards the battling soldiers.
“What if I do not know the words to speak?”
The captain did the most surprising thing of all. He said nothing. Only winked and stepped back from the young man.
The young man felt tears grip his chest, but it did not consume him. He turned his eyes away from the captain, knowing, if even vaguely what was supposed to happen.
Slowly he began walking back, momentum growing with every stride. The heat continued exploding within him, covering every inch of himself inside. He could feel it growing deeper, sharper, and more full…it was rising into his throat now.
In fact, the closer he drew to the struggle, the harder it pushed against his throat. He was sure within minutes that only a raw scream would issue out.
And then the momentum stopped, the pressure disappeared without warning and he stopped mid stride, so close to the soldiers and demons once more he could smell the sulpheric stench.
The heat had evaporated from inside him like water in a boiling pot of steam. He felt nearly helpless, yet he opened his mouth in obedience to his captain and spoke.
What came out next was truly beyond his understanding. Beauty poured from his mouth. The most beautiful words he had ever heard. He did not even know that such richness could come from out of him, but it did.
He was not shouting yet, the entire battlefield could hear him, and he watched in amazement as demons began falling in crumpled piles of lifeless flesh as the sound of his voice met their ears. They shrieked in agony and then died…disappearing, completely vanquished.
The words would not stop, and he could do nothing to stop them, they poured out with power…with love…with grace…with truth…with compassion….with authority….with power. Again beauty was the only word itself that he could use to describe these words.
The beauty strengthened every soldier. It encouraged them with fervor. They fought like men once more, and the snakes could not even breathe in the presence of his voice. Those closest to him, regained such power over their enemies that they quickly brought to an end all those who apposed them and then rushed towards other places on the battlefield bringing their passion and doubling it in those they joined.
When the enemy was no more, when the soldiers had regained their faith, their desire and their vision his tongue slowly fell silent. The battle moved away from him and pushed back the enemy farther away across the hills and into the valleys beyond his small meadow.
The young man sank to his knees, suddenly exhausted. In his spirit, he understood instantly. How he had just fought was no different than wielding a sword; it took just as much strength and skill, just as many choices, just the same amount of obedience.
His captain’s hand suddenly appeared on his shoulder.
“ Now you will see with eyes you have never dreamed of. And now you will speak things that have never been heard, but have been waiting in the treasure house of your heart to be revealed.”
The young man breathed out deep, closing his eyes.
“I felt strange…”
The older man laughed, deeply, his hand shaking with mirth against the young man’s shoulder.
“We are both strangers in a strange land, with strange rules, strange names and strange ways. You were not made for this place. Neither am I,” the captain knelt on one knee beside him,” This is only the battlefield. Remember what waits for us at home. That is the good part.”
The young man let out chuckle,”…and it will never been taken from us.”
“Never. So speak my word,” his captain whispered into his ear.
( I wrote this for one of my good, guy friends back in college. It’s original title was The Warrior)
Natasha is a short story writer who has been blogging for the past decade. She is currently raising four kids in the midwest United States and married to her wonderful husband of 10 years. They both work with YWAM and media missions.