By Lydia Anderson
The war rages on without any consideration of the warrior. Broken and bloodied soldiers seek respite as wounds slowly heal. Unsure of when the next attack will come, all they have left is hope of divine deliverance.
I was engrossed in this story just a few months before I turned 20. Rereading the account of The Stripling Warriors was the first time I remember feeling hungry to read The Book of Mormon. In the past, I used the war chapters as a selling point as to why people should give the scriptures a chance. (It had action AND inspiration!) This experience though--this was totally different.
In my life, I had reached my climax moment. What I mean by this was that I was at a point in my story where conflict could no longer be ignored. Despite my efforts to be a really good missionary, Heaven felt really far away. I wanted to give up and go home. The battle had been so long and I was soooo tired of fighting.
This was the first time I was reading in desperate need of personalized answers. I wrote the deepest, darkest question of my soul on the title page and underlined every word that gave answers. I still get a special feeling when I see pink ink because that's the color I chose to highlight God's love for me.
I'd heard the story of the 2,000 Stripling Warriors romanticized since primary, yet suddenly it became my story. Before this experience, I knew it taught about courage and faith in the Lord and the power of righteous moms. What I didn't realize was that this story teaches about weakness and wounds and utter exhaustion.
I learned that whole armies can be wounded and still have hope. I would 100% understand if they all complained, (they were hurt and short on resources and they were only there because their dads made a covenant not to fight) but they never did! Instead of dwelling on those thing, THEY REJOICED in the miracle that not a single one of their soldiers had been killed.
In saying this, it's not that these warriors didn't acknowledge the pain or the tiredness. They sometimes didn't attack when their forces were too weary, but when they reached their climax moments they trusted that their fight for faith would be sustained by the God they were fighting for. In their climax moments, they didn't forget the previous times heaven had preserved them. They recognized that on their own, prospects seemed bleak, but with their God, the battle seemed possible.
I learned that young and weak individuals can accomplish incredible things! "Stripling" by very denotation suggests the youth of these individuals. They were not experienced, trained fighters, but mere volunteers motivated to defend their families.
So if you're feeling beat down in the battles of life-- I get it! I SO get it and so does our God! If anyone knows what it feels like to be betrayed, hurt, and physically wounded it is He who willingly submitted to the cross AND experienced all of our pain as a part of His atonement.
I want to tell you deliverance is for today, but I can't quite do that. Sometimes deliverance delays without any explanation. It's not anything you're doing right or wrong, heaven just saw fit to allow a little extra time in the battle. Because of Christ, though, deliverance does and will come. It will come to you. Always.
Read the full story in Alma 56 and 57