Pop! Zing! A bullet sings past Daniel’s head shattering a stone in the building just behind him. He claws at his right eye trying to clear it from the dust-rocks so he can see. A little blood begins to trickle down his neck from the cuts the blast made to the side of his face.
With the same motion, he twists around and ducks. That one was too close. “Rat-a-tat!” he hears another weapon fire, then, “Ahhh . . . .”
“I got ‘em Daniel, it was a sniper!” Joe runs up behind him.
“Thanks, Joe – come on, we gotta get out of here! Things are too hot!”
Daniel steps out, throwing his body forward. His foot catches a wire. “It’s a trip wire -- get back, Joe!” He is on the ground and surely cannot get up fast enough. Thoughts of death assault his mind. Will this be his last seconds on earth? “Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” is his prayer.
He automatically curls up to protect vital organs the best he can -- there must be only seconds left to live. He waits . . . nothing. “Must-a-been a dud” he tells himself.
Forcing his body upward, he yells, “Come on Joe, we gotta catch up to the patrol!”
Rounding a corner, they hear “Boom!” Debris is flying everywhere – rocks are exploding into the atmosphere -- a building has a gaping hole in it -- and they see body parts. An arm here, a leg there -- blood rains in droplets. Terror tries to pierce the cells of Daniel’s body. It is a gruesome scene. Wait! He sees . . . a leg close to him . . . it does not have on a combat boot -- but a sandal.
Relief pours over him – the dead man was not one of theirs. The patrol covers the area to investigate and to flush out anymore insurgents. The guy was only a kid, probably recruited for just such a mission and thankfully, not properly trained.
On the way back to the base, thoughts begin to pour into Daniel’s mind. “That poor kid . . . how can people get so twisted that they will sacrifice their own children on the alter of a perverted idol. Just think . . . if I hadn’t gotten tangled in that wire, I might have been in that explosion. Just one little time-consuming minute . . . time-consuming . . . just enough to save Joe and me. My angels are still on duty. Thank You, Lord, for protection for yet another day.”
Back at the base, Daniel goes to his tent, falls on his knees and thrusts his hands upward toward his Jehovah God. “Lord, I thank You and praise You for protection once again. You are my God, and I worship You.”
He hears a whispered voice. “Daniel? Are you in there?”
Rising, Daniel recognizes the voice. “Yes, Joe, what is it?”
“Can . . . can I talk to you? I . . . I feel kind of bad right now. That kid today, the one who blew himself up . . . it made me think of my kids and the time I’m away from them. This war we’re fighting – it’s very time-consuming of very valuable time that I could be with my family. Why am I here?”
“Joe, this is a question every man who has ever fought a battle asks himself. You are right, it is time-consuming. It is a terrible machine that swallows time like a big black hole in the universe. Before you know it, it’s gone and you wonder where. But I also know that if someone did not sacrifice everything, there would be nothing left that we hold dear to us. Someone has to protect our families. It becomes even more evident when we are attacked on our own soil.
“I also remember someone else who sacrificed time and His home with His Father. He came to die for us all.”
Joe’s eyes begin to glisten as they turn red and become moist. “Yes . . . you’re right. When I’m hurting, I sometimes forget that Jesus gave more than we ever could. He came to be the sacrifice for us so we wouldn’t have to go to hell. What we do here is not just time-consuming, it’s an honor. Thanks for the talk and thanks for being my friend, Daniel, it helps a lot.”
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