Soldiers fight. That is what soldiers do.
Yes, they do other things. Soldiers feel the same things that non soldiers feel, think things that non-soldiers think, and want some of the same things that non-soldiers want, but in a major way, they are very different. Soldiers fight.
The soldier fights when others are at rest. He has a different schedule than the non-soldier. When he does rest, he doesn’t forget that there is a battle, and always feels that he must be ready to respond at any moment. He must maintain his state of readiness. He may not be fighting, but he is never out of the fight. He must not resent the non-soldier’s abundance of free time. The soldier is a soldier by choice. His life is different.
The soldier fights because he understands what is at stake. Others may not understand the enemy, the battle, or the risk, but the soldier understands that there is much at risk. Others may mock the idea of there being a battle or an enemy. Non-soldiers may imagine that soldiers exaggerate the facts, and embellish the reports. The non-soldier may imagine that the soldier is in the fight only for his own glory. The non-soldier cannot relate to the intensity of the soldier’s mind and heart, for he doesn’t understand the battle. The soldier does, however, understand the non-soldier, for the soldier used to be passive, indifferent, and distracted, just like the non-soldier, until the reality of the fight was revealed to him. Then he raised his hand, committed his heart, and changed his lifestyle.
The soldier understands that he belongs to something much bigger than himself. He is not his own. He doesn’t make his own decisions. He doesn’t plan his own life. He listens for the voice of his Superior, and he responds accordingly.
The soldier cannot allow himself to be discouraged by those that analyze and make comments about the battle, but themselves, do not fight. The soldier knows that he is not fully understood except by those that fight with him, and who share the same struggles. It is among fellow soldiers that he finds his best comradery. The analysts and pundits pontificate, while the soldier does the work. He sometimes resents the so-called experts that criticize from the safety of their well-furnished vantage points. He has justifiable anger at those who second guess his best efforts, but have never faced the enemy. Yet in all of this, the soldier fights for the pundit and for the analyst. He shakes his head from time to time at their naivety and arrogance, but then gets back into the battle. He cannot afford to be distracted by them. There is too much at stake.
The soldier sometimes wants to quit. He remembers past failures, and how those failures allowed others to be hurt, or prevented victories for his side. At times, he has heard the call to charge, but hesitated. He knows true fear, and at times reverts back into his instinct of self-preservation. He also fears making a mistake that will allow others to be hurt, yet he cannot allow himself to be paralyzed by fear, for the enemy keeps coming. The soldier must fight forward, regardless of his fear for himself or for others.
The soldier must be careful about evaluating of his fellow soldiers. He understands their frailties, for he shares them, and has felt them. He may feel critical of his comrades at times. They may seem to lack intensity, focus, and dedication, but except for rare occasions, the soldier realizes that he has done the same, and his criticism fades.
The soldier lives for the cause though others minimize the cause. The soldier fights for others who cannot or will not fight for themselves. The soldier hopes for the best for others, while often times, others only hope for themselves.
The soldier continues on though few thank him, shake his hand, or consider his sacrifices.
In all of this, the soldier realizes that he cannot be anything other than a soldier. It is who and what he is. He cannot do anything else, though at times he may want to. He is what he is.
He is a soldier. God has made him one.
You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.
(2 Timothy 2:3, 4)