By Maj. Kelvin Todd, 194th Armor Brigade Chaplain
August into September marks a transition. Summertime and vacations give way to school schedules. Another school year has begun. PCS moves may be complete or still in progress. Yet, these transitions occur every year.
Other realities seem never to change. TRAINING is one. The Army trains. Fort Benning enjoys a particular focus on training, being a TRADOC installation. Soldiers literally from around the world, not to mention from every state of our union, come here to receive world-class military training. Soldiers PCS, instructors come and go. Yet, training continues. Training prepares one for tasks expected of them at a later time.
EDUCATION is another reality that remains part of our lives. Local school students ponder how hard the new year and new grade will be. College students begin a new year looking forward to completing another semester, with graduation in view. Soldiers study year-round to earn a coveted degree or Additional Skill Identifier. Inherent in Army training is education; learning a new skill set. Education occurs both formally and informally. One need not be enrolled in an institution of higher learning to develop a broader, deeper understanding of a new discipline or craft. Education prepares one to work through and deal with events and situations not addressed in training. How to apply training to these challenging events and situations is the benefit of education.
A third unchanging reality is FAITH. Not everyone looks at the world through a particular faith lens. However, I would argue most individuals do. This practice of faith goes beyond religious labels, churches, denominations and faith groups with which we most comfortably identify. The reality of faith in a person’s life is not necessarily religious. You and I have faith Uncle Sam will deposit our wages into our account. This goes beyond legal and fair employment practices. I expect twice a month I will be paid for services rendered by the federal government through an electronic payment process into my personal bank account.
Yet, a faith does exist that addresses the more transcendent, intangible, even eternal realities in life. This type of faith understands that there is more to this life than what we could ever see or experience in our limited capacity as human beings on a daily basis. This type of faith knows there is more to come than what this life offers here on earth. Life is troubling, and many times accompanied by pain and suffering. If we live long enough, we will encounter trials, pain, loss and suffering. And, however long we live, we all must die. These realities are inevitable.
Dr. Ravi Zacharias stated my point in this phrase:
“TRAINING prepares us for the EXPECTED.
EDUCATION prepares us for the UNEXPECTED.”
I added this third statement:
“FAITH prepares us for the INEVITABLE.”
What does this practice of spiritual faith offer us? The truth that we are not alone in our pain and suffering. The comfort we can receive and offer to others as faith-filled people. The hope that ours from a living faith in the One who is the Author of our faith.
I encourage you to exercise your personal faith this spring. Pray. Attend your house of worship. Fellowship with others. Read Scripture. You will be reminded again how much TRAINING and EDUCATION come from the practice of FAITH!
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16