After graduating college I joined the US Army as an Officer. I did not see my parents that much over the next decade as I served at multiple military posts. My family moved back to the DC area in 2001 when I left the Army to pursue a civilian career. My father was almost 70 years old by then, so I decided to spend time with him since we had a lot of catching up to do. We would meet for breakfast on a regular basis and talk. One topic we discussed was faith. I thought I knew a lot about it, but realized my faith had become overly complicated. My dad helped set me straight by his simple approach to faith.
One morning we were talking about the Bible. I was comfortable discussing the Bible because I had read through it many times, and actually taught Sunday School to teenagers for several years. I knew the meaning of terms like hermeneutics, eschatology, and transubstantiation. Full of my self, I was trying to impress my father with this knowledge. He was patient with me, and then asked me a simple question – why do I read the Bible? I thought about it, and answered that I read the Bible to learn about God. Later on I would realize that my pursuit of knowledge about God had become academic and stale. I had become religious.
I decided to turn the tables on my father – like many religious people do. So I asked him why did he read the Bible. His answer surprised me. My father said he read the Bible because it brought him peace in this world. Slightly puzzled, I asked him to describe what he meant. My dad went on to explain that he felt guilty to still be alive in this world. He deployed to Vietnam multiple times, and spent almost three years in combat. Many of his friends were killed in action or wounded. My father was never wounded. Now that he was older, many of his West Point classmates had died. My father wondered why has his life been spared, and felt guilty about it. So, he reads the Bible every morning because it brings him peace in this world. He uses a simple approach that works.
“My faith is simple. It is not complicated. Every morning I read the Bible to include the 23rd Psalm. Then I pray to God. I thank him for what I have and ask him for what I need”.
Nowadays I try to do the same. Keep it simple. God is not a mystery to be solved. Rather He is a loving father who can give us peace in this world. The Lord knows we all need more peace.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
2 He lets me rest in fields of green grass
and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water.
3 He gives me new strength.
He guides me in the right paths,
as he has promised.
4 Even if I go through the deepest darkness,
I will not be afraid, Lord,
for you are with me.
Your shepherd’s rod and staff protect me.
5 You prepare a banquet for me,
where all my enemies can see me;
you welcome me as an honored guest
and fill my cup to the brim.
6 I know that your goodness and love will be with me all my life;
and your house will be my home as long as I live.