A Soldier Comes Home

Another soldier came home today.

Maybe the war has carried on for too long now. Maybe the media coverage is biased enough to dampen support. Perhaps the strongest proponents have grown indifferent. For whatever reason, though, the soldier arrived home to no fanfare. There was no parade. There were no banners raised in his honor. Family and friends from far away did not travel to meet him as he stepped off his bus with his pack slung over his shoulder. His own father did not even take off work to welcome him.

Sadly, the devoted warrior did not return uninjured. His tour in the combat zone was a nightmare, to say the least. He engaged in battle after battle after bloody battle, outnumbered in each and every one. On multiple occasions, the noble knight intercepted an aggressor’s strike against a fellow soldier. Yet he never complained; backing down or giving up never crossed his mind. No, surrender was not an option.

The soldier’s face lights up when you mention his comrades in arms. He calls them brothers and sisters. Given the time and an audience of any number, he will tell you a little (or a lot) about each of them. The adoration in his voice betrays him; though he is happy to be home, he longs to be back on that line with his fellow patriots.

You might ask him about the photo that he carries in his back pack, and you will quickly recognize almost all in the frame from the descriptions the young man has given. Except for one. The soldier’s face darkens, and he quietly tells you—with evident pain—how his buddy fell. The tremble in the otherwise stoic voice confirms just how deeply the loss was felt.

Reliving that black event seems to ignite a flame in the boy, and a fiery monologue ensues. The soldier has no shortage of criticism for senior leadership. The brass demand spit-and-polish regiment, yet the news outlets cover hundreds of stories of terrible indiscretions committed by those same officials. Countless warriors returning from the front have begged and pleaded to be better equipped. Each request is met by an empty commitment of action and an invariable dismissal. Rhetoric has no combat value.

The young man pauses, pondering. You wonder if his devotion to the cause is in debate. In your mind it must be. So you ask. His response is anything but expected. No, his commitment is unwavering, and he will return to the battlefield. His gaze bores a hole deep within you, and you know without question the words he speaks are truth.

Then he softens, for he knows that tomorrow the fight begins anew.

Until then, he has homework to complete.

His camouflage is not government-issued, but bears the name of Hollister and Old Navy. His combat zone is a classroom, a gymnasium, or a schoolyard. His arsenal holds no rifles, sidearms, or artillery. But the battles are fierce, and the war is real. So go the days of a warrior in the Army of the Lord.

Every day, thousands of preteens and teens enter hostile territory and are openly and shamelessly attacked for carrying their faith into houses of “learning.” They stand condemned for claiming salvation through Jesus Christ. They are blatantly ridiculed by teachers, mocked by fellow students, and ignored by senior administrators. They bleed, and they hurt.

War is not without casualty, and this young man knows that all too well. He has lost more than one friend to enemies—human, secular, and spiritual. And though the loss is not physical, it is death nonetheless. Yet he remains tireless in his service, for he knows to bend or yield in any way simply opens the door for greater loss.

He stands on a line for a cause, for the leader of that cause stood on a line nearly 2000 years before. He is willing to die because HE was willing to die.

He is a warrior. God bless him.


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