“Will you cover me?”

The words had flashed like lightning across the bleak horizon of my mind.

“Will I ‘cover you’? What do you mean?” I had stammered.

A wild light was in his eyes when he turned toward me and urgently petitioned me to keep an arrow on the string as he began his attempt to free the people still held captive in the enemy’s camp.

“I was with them. I was one of them. I have to go back and save them.” His voice grew even more agitated as he paced about.

“But you have only just escaped from there yourself,” I argued. “My orders were to keep you, and any other escapees, safe here.”

“And you have. And I’m thankful. But I know my orders, too: I must go back.”

I shook my head in disbelief. “This is madness! What do you think you can accomplish alone? You know I cannot leave my position.”

“I know, I know. I have a plan to get in and out unseen. All I need you to do is cover me as I leave and be ready to cover us when – if – we return. Will you do it?”

I looked away from his pleading face and stared unseeing at the barren hills behind which the enemy camp lay. Our scouts had reported that there were countless soldiers hiding behind the trees on either side of the road, just a couple of hundred metres away.

I fingered the bow in my hand. What could I do?

I could not dissuade him from going. Neither could I go with him.

Crazy. Insane. Stupid.

What if the enemy captured him again and forced him to betray us? To reveal our plans? Maybe he already had been turned against us and he now wanted to go back to give his report.

I glanced back at him. He had stopped pacing and was now sitting with his head in his hands, muttering to himself.

The image did not tally with the sketch of him which I had begun to draw. This was no madman. This was no malicious traitor.

I took a couple of steps closer. He lifted his head and quickly stood up, wild eyes darting again.

“Well? Will you do it?”

“Yes, yes I’ll cover you as long as I can.”

He stretched out his arms as if about to hug me, but instead grabbed my shoulders as he broke down in tears.

“Thank you. Thank you. I do not know whether I’ll make it, but I’ll have a much greater chance with your help. I hope I don’t let you – or them – down.”

For all the humble, courageous people who are facing ridicule, imprisonment, and even death so that they can obey God’s call to raid the Devil’s camp.

I think we can sometimes confuse being “back-up” with “backing up” or “reversing”. That’s not the kind of gear we should be in; we should be dressed in gear for warfare.

So let us cover each other with prayer and summon the courage to have each other’s back despite the possibility of defeat and failure.

“Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.” ~ Hebrews 13:3

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” ~ Ephesians 6:10-20 (Italics added)

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