General Frankie: A Story For Little People/V
Now all these trials and mishaps that I have been telling you about might have been avoided if the General had tried hard to overcome them; but there were some enemies who were permitted to prevail, by the will of the Great Commander. One of these was called General Fever, and is always to be dreaded.
This General Fever lives in swamps and damp places, but once in a while he comes out into the towns and villages, sending on his color-bearer with a scarlet flag and a detachment of his troops. They will be officered by Captain Chills, Captain Thirst, Captain Weakness, Captain Headache, Captain Sorebones, and many others. Every body tries to get out of their way, but at last they have to surrender. IT is no use to rebel, for he is under sealed orders of the world, and we can't know why he comes and goes. Every once in a while we all have to act under sealed orders, and the only help we can get is to look at our chart and find out where we are, and trust to our great General Officer for the rest. Sometimes we find out what certain trials are for before we are out to sea very far; but in most cases we have to wait to get out of sight of this world.
General Fever is sent to take captives for a little while, so that they will stop and think about their course. While they are strong and well they forget to be watchful; but when they are lying sick they have time to stop and ask themselves if they are really on the road to that better land. Sometimes he wants to remind friends that it is not right to idolize any human being that may be taken away at any moment; to put fathers and mothers in mind that their dear little children are only lent to them for a while; and to teach all those who love one another so well that they must love God better than all.
It seems very sad when General Fever is permitted to take people quite away from this earth, to come back no more. But they can always call upon a great Friend, who is called "the Captain of our Salvation," to help them all along their way. Whenever he hears any body calling to him in earnest that they want to enlist in his army, he listens to them, and gives them a bond sealed with his own blood; so that, when they have fought the good fight, they may present it to his Father, and receive from him a reward which is said to be exceeding great. The Captain of our Salvation will prepare a place for them, a mansion in the skies, where there never will be any more sorrow or sighing, where all tears are wiped from their eyes, and where there will never be any more battles to fight. And while they are here in the midst of the conflict, he will see to it that they have a suit of armor: "the breast-plate of righteousness," and "the sword of the Spirit." He will cheer them when they faint by the way, and tell them how surely they will win the victory; and then he reminds them how he was once a common soldier too, and can "be touched with a sense of our infirmities." So we see it is better to suffer a little at General Fever's hands than to miss the road our Captain trod before us.