“Thou therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” ~2nd Timothy 2:3
This is war. At the time of our salvation, we enlisted to be soldiers in God’s army. We wrestle not against people, but against evil powers. This is not an easy battle. Sometimes, the soldier has to find a bunker and get away from the commotion to rest, refuel, and pray. The soldier cries, gets injured, and is sometimes scared. The soldier oftentimes feels ‘down for the count’ – but this is war and he soon dusts himself off, dries his tears, and courageously stands against all Hell again. That’s what soldiers for God’s army do. They endure pain, setbacks, disappointments, and weariness – but God means so much to them that they are willing to die for Him. They fight and they arise as a good, strong soldier, even though they will often feel inadequate. They arise above the sneers and ridicule of the inactive soldiers on the sidelines. This is what a good soldier does. This is what we do. This is who we are.
“It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him…” 2nd Tim. 2:11-12
Some of God’s faithful soldiers have afflictions which plague us – still we fight. We have shattered hearts – yet we do not become bitter. We have sleepless nights – but we find our rest in God’s arms. He meets with us in the bunker, the hiding place. There, He hugs us as we cease to suppress our tears. We cry upon His strong shoulder. He doctors our deep, deep, painful wounds with great love and comfort. He assures us that this is only a light, momentary affliction in comparison to the glory which will be revealed. He will lead us to victory. We will be the eternal champions. We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus. He assures us that, one day, He will have enough of this. He will rise up with His full fury and judgment against those who so cruelly injured His soldiers – His precious children. He will fight for us. He comforts us with the words, “One day, I will wipe all tears from your eyes.” He continues, “And there shall be no more death; neither sorrow nor crying – and no more pain.” But until then, we have to keep fighting. Until then, we have work to do. Time will end all suffering for the saint. Rest is coming – the eternal kind; but for now, we must labor. If we weary, God meets us in the hiding place and gives us the strength to carry on.
If we endure like a good soldier unto the end, we will be given a crown of righteousness that doesn’t fade away. We will be blessed with Heavenly riches and surrounded by unspeakable, glittering beauty. But most of all, we will be with Him, face-to-face for all eternity. The depressing, shadows of war will be a distant memory – and He will be so proud of us that we endured. We will rule and reign with Christ on that bright, shining day. He will say to us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant – enter into the joys of the Lord”… and it will be for all eternity.
Then, we will be forever separated from those who hated us, abused us, persecuted us, taunted us, and outnumbered us. Their lips of hatred and sin will only utter tormenting, agonizing cries. They made their decision and God has made His. Never, ever again will their wicked words or deeds harm us or break our Savior’s heart. At this point, He is done with them for all eternity. Oh, that they would seek the Lord while He still may be found! We are either in God’s army or we are in Satan’s army – there is no middle ground.
God will have His own people in His world of peace and no evil or conflict will be permitted then. We will be free from all worry, free from all pain, and free from all sickness and death. We will be so elated that we will have to be given a brand new body in order to take it all in; in order to tolerate the insurmountable joy that awaits us. No more weariness, no more sickness – ever, no more funerals or caskets, no more bills to fret over paying, no more setbacks or disappointments, no more fighting and no more war… our faith will become sight! This is the truth of what awaits us! Until then, let us be God’s faithful soldiers. Glory, glory hallelujah – His truth is marching on!