"So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
and power to all those to come."
It was a beautiful day. The rain had stopped and the sun was peeping out of the clouds. Everything glistened with the rays of the sun piercing through the drops of wetness. Steam was rising from the ground and out in the fields there was a smokey looking cover to the verdant softness.
This is what caught his eyes as he sat at the gates of the fortress. The wizened face smiled as he closed both eyes simultaneously turning his face towards the shining sun. Wrinkles covered his face. Some from contemplation and others from the joy of years. He had old eyes which was appropriate for a man his age and yet there were those times that you could still see that twinkle. This old man had seen much in the span of his lifetime. Many were the battles he had fought for the Master Commander. And many were the scars to prove it.
The sun felt so good and seemed to radiate through his tired bones. It was a good moment to reflect on years gone by and of the mercies he had received. True, his marching orders might be a bit different these days. But, nevertheless, they were still fierce and with resolve. There are no vacations for warriors and a warrior he still was. So, even though it would be nice to sit and enjoy the sunshine, he got up from his perch and, with determination, started the day.
Kabed was now a trainer in the courtyard of the MC. His name wasn't known to many. Most just called him Old Man Warrior. But the Master Commander knew his name and everything about him. So, the OMW was fine with that and let most think that he didn't have a name. Many years ago his mother had named him Kabed as it had certain meaning. She was longing for a son who was strong and mighty. Funny, how a name can make someone into what it is called. Kabed, meaning heavy, in a good sense defining that which is honorable, weighty, glorious, noble. And this is what the Old Man Warrior had turned out to be.
Now Kabed, or Old Man Warrior, was an instructor of the young. No more was this chiseled warrior to lead the charge toward the battle, or so he thought. It was the training of new recruits, young and mighty that would do the fiercest battle and it would be his charge to teach them in the ways of the fight. He was glad for the post even though it brought a sense of melancholy. No longer would he feel the thrill of the march, the comradeship of other soldiers and the joy of victory. But he knew it was a wise assignment from the MC. He trusted the Master Commander's directives and would not question the decision. He would follow the voice of the Great Shepherd for Kabed had learned, sometimes through hard lessons, that the MC's ways were the best. They were the best not only for the OMW but also for those around him.
The old man's body was tired even though his mind was still so very much alive. It hurt to get up and move but this was the very thing he needed to do. He so loved the Master Commander that it was pure joy to serve him. It didn't matter what the MC asked of him. Old Man Warrior was willing, even if not so able, to give it his all. "Just give me a moment", he thought, "and everything will be moving just fine". So he swirled his arms about and lifted his knees high to limber things up. "Onward", was his motto. Always onward as he started his way toward the courtyard and the daily opportunity to teach what he knew.
There were many of the young new recruits who would smile and snicker as the old man passed. Not so those who have even spent 10 minutes in the presence of the OMW. Great respect there was for this old man who walked with slow and halting gait. There had been speculation that the limp was just to throw the new recruits off. Not many knew that the old man's leg had been mangled in one of the great battles. It was always a spectacle even to those who did know to see the teacher transform before the students.
It is like a dance. The old man would transform right before the eyes. At one moment he was bent over walking with a hobble. But when he entered the ring of training something happened to make his movements graceful and magic. Most would be seen with their jaws dropped with wonderment. While others would smile with knowing from seeing the scene before. It was a sight to behold.
"even to your old age
I am he,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save."
So it was on this particular sun shiny day. His movements were slow at first giving the recruits an advantage. With each blow that came at him the old man would defend with such ease it would frustrate the new recruits. In their zeal and determination the blows would come harder at the OMW. And each time would be thwarted until finally the young person lay on their backs wondering what had just happened. The roar from the onlookers would be deafening until the new recruits would see the kind face of their trainer above holding out his hand. In that moment each one, as so many before them, loved the old man as a father.
Kabed had never had a family of his own. Something that he regretted often. But even though he didn't have sons and daughters born through him he had many spiritual sons and daughters. This gave him such satisfaction that, at times, he felt his heart would burst. He knew that this too was a kindness from the MC as always the solitary are always put in families. However, there were the times that he did indeed feel lonely. This was always a good opportunity for him to reflect on what really is true instead of what he felt. Even at old age he found that the tricks he employed in his younger years to be helpful now. A warrior does not rely on one's feelings to get him through the battles but solely relies on what is true and trustworthy. Of course feelings can be helpful if trained to line up with the truth. It had taken the OMW years to hone this skill and even still there were moments of pause and reflection in listening through this grid.
The day was now over and training would have to wait until the morning. Kabed could feel the muscles start to seize up from the exercise of the ring. As he walked slowly across the courtyard he was approached by another brother in arms. A quick glance startled the old man. There was a foreboding radiating from his friend. What he was about to hear would change Old Man Warrior's world yet again.
"Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heaven.
You who have done great things, O God, who is like you?
You who have made me see many troubles and calamities
will revive me again;
from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again.
You will increase my greatness and comfort me again."
The warrior's battle is never really over this side of heaven. It can change from time to time and there might be a season of rest. Our attitude as believers needs to be one of readiness because we don't know what tomorrow will bring. One thing that we can be sure of is that Christ always leads the charge and we are never alone. So, stay awake, Christian and have your hand on the sword! There is no time to sleep.
"Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.
Fight the good fight of the faith."
I Timothy 6:11b-12a