A while back I had a conversation with a soldier who had recently returned from a tour in a war torn country. He explained to me what he went through while serving his country. As a U.S. soldier he fought against terrorists who had poorer quality weapons and soldiers, and a much smaller army. There was no way they could win, yet they fought against the American forces with such hatred. Though they could not win, they could hurt. Even small hurts put psychological stress on my soldier friend. I do not truly understand it because I did not live it. I have never been on that battlefield.
A while back I had another conversation with a man who works with a minority people group in Bulgaria. I asked him how his ministry was going. He was a bit awkward in his response, and I quickly caught the reason. His work had recently faced major setbacks and he had to start over again after having invested a great deal of time and energy to little effect. I reminded him that I too am a missionary. I too have taken risks and started projects. I too have worked with people on a spiritual level, and I too understand just how often projects fizzle and ministries need to be restarted. I understand that at times like this we can feel like we have failed or wasted our time working in one area only to find the results less than satisfying. I understand the attacks of our enemy. I understand it because I have lived it. I have been on that battlefield. We cannot be defeated, but we can be hurt.
Just this weekend this same man gave me a call. He explained that he was just calling to see how things are going. We shared recent developments and prayer requests. After our conversation I realized just how much I needed that call.
There is a reason soldiers do not fight alone. We need people who understand what we are going through. We need other soldiers on the battlefield with us. We need a band of brothers. We need each other in a life like this. I am blessed to have a handful of such godly men in my life in Sofia. We can share struggles, share successes, share strategies, build each other up, and make each other stronger in a way that is non-threatening and non-political. Iron truly does sharpen iron.