What Faith Is Not

One of my favorite experiences has been shared…often because it is apt for almost any situation. Whether it’s good or bad, the moment in that police car clarifies perhaps the most important functioning truth of living. That statement is neither overstated nor hyperbolic. The word came in my first ride as a Volunteer Police Chaplain for the Colorado Springs Police Department.

Met the officer, Sue, at the main downtown station, we walked to her car and before seat belts attached the dispatcher announced a robbery in progress. First blink was I hadn’t “signed up for this.” Second was to wonder how a chaplain could help the officer when an armed robbery was taking place in, of all places, a strip mall cleaners, literally a ma and pop company?

We turned off all lights once in the alley and I could see the alley/back door of the cleaners was open. Sue got out, unholstered her revolver, looked back in before she closed her door, “Pastor? Come on. We’re in this together.”

My protest was not academic…gave serious quarrel a clear presence: “What? Not fair, Sue. You have on a bullet-proof vest!” Her response was honest and time measured on the closeness to forever edge: “Come on. Don’t you have a bulletproof faith?”

Story is my seat belt remained buckled, the robbery was not real and we continued to drive into the night, during which Sue contended the validity of faith was when it served for protection.

For years…pushing for decades…that moment monuments a greater truth…by which I try to order a worthier manner of living: faith is not for protection. Faith is for endurance.

Was thinking about all that this morning. A very special—as in critical—day for Brian who will undergo brain surgery this afternoon. For a biopsy. Even more for a clearer definition of the cancer and what treatments will be recommended.

It is with his upcoming surgery and remembering my back-alley-possible-robbery incident my valued friend, Mike Murray wrote me this morning…in response to Brian, the cancer discovery and how faith functions. Mike’s given permission, his powerful and poignant sharing of faith as endurance. He speaks with wisdom…great wisdom. I share from him, a friend who graces my life and encourages each step we are able to take…each day. And often. The two from a friend are not often combined.

May Mike’s words…and each of our prayers…bring comfort and peace for Brian…and may Brian know he’s never alone…never.

“I have no words of comfort, something that will diminish the pain, like some opioid for physical pain. But, I do have a word of hope, not to comfort, but to sustain each of us through this time: our God is big enough to use even our sadness and our grief. How, when or where God will use it, I do not know. That God will, I can assure you. The evidence is a cross outside of Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago: the worst thing that ever transpired this earth was used by God to proclaim the depth and breadth and unbreakable bonds of love. God is a meaning maker; and God will make meaning out of what brings us together. May we assure ourselves that nothing is meaningless. Not because such reassurance takes away our pain; it just enables us to endure it.”

For each of us…and in prayers today for and with Bryan and his family, we ask to know in our hearts God is with us. The promise of Caring Presence is never broken. Nor is our caring for each other.


About Mark H Miller

Diane and I live in Leander, Texas. This past June 17, 2015 I celebrated the 49th anniversary of my ordination. We returned to Texas after three years in Washington, during which I served as interim minister in Bellevue/Eastgate and Mercer Island. Am planning to begin a 5th novel that will have my protagonist, Tricia Gleason, serve a year in licensed ministry in Snoqualmie, Washington. The novel, "The Lemon Drop Didn't Melt," will find Tricia wrestling with ministry challenges. None of which more daunting than someone wanting her breathing to stop. All the published novels are available on Amazon and Amazon Kindle under Mark Henry Miller. A primary goal in our return to Texas is to make sure grandchildren get lots of attention--here and in Chicago and Washington, D.C. Traveling is definitely an activity that will not slow down. With that, of course, fishing will happen. To that the t-shirt is apt, "I fish; therefore I am." In addition to novels, the book of Blogs, "Voice Of My Heart," is also available on Amazon.
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One Response to What Faith Is Not

  1. Dick and Pat Becker says:

    Oh Mark – vibes were coming across to you and Diane as we read your blog two days ago –
    Mike’s words to you say it all –
    There is a peace there –
    We en route to Austin on train – to take Jessica’s 3 girls to Bandera to play several days – then hope we may catch up with you – since we missed you at Mercer Island by only a week –

    Many are with you on this journey – and on this one you don’t have to be the strongest one – just be you and Diane – break down , melt down, whatever – and realize many folks are with you

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