Last week, we began our conversation around the need to be about soul care with our veterans. We shared about the role of spirituality in the warrior’s life, the spiritual issues a warrior faces, especially while in harm’s way, and the affects of trauma and violence on the warrior’s soul. I had mentioned that this week we would share around the theme of faith and why faith is important to the Soldier, Sailor, Marine, Airmen, and Guardian.
Faith of a Warrior…
“I tell you the truth, I have not seen faith like this in all the land of Israel.”––Matthew 8:10. Jesus makes this emphatic statement about the faith of a Roman Centurion, a warrior.
“On the day I cried out, you answered me. You encouraged me with inner strength.” ––Psalm 138:3. The Hebrew scripture also reveals the importance of faith for David, another warrior.
Faith, defined as;
Faith is central
Faith is central to the character of our Service women and men. Whether it is the commitment to one’s country, belief in the mission, loyalty to one’s battle buddy, reliance in training, or trust in God, faith has significance for the warriors of the U.S. Armed Forces.
As an Army Chaplain for over 30 years, I can attest to the importance of faith to the warrior. Whether one is an Army paratrooper on an airborne operation, an Air Force Security Force Specialist on the firing range qualifying with his or her personal weapon, a Marine rifle platoon leader conducting a humanitarian mission in Afghanistan, or a Navy Corpsman providing medical care to a wounded Sailor, or a Guardian on a drug interdiction operation, the warrior relies on faith in order to successfully accomplish the mission.
While attending airborne school, my class had a lull between training events. I used the opportunity to conduct some “hip pocket” leadership training on the importance of faith in order to successfully complete airborne school. I shared about the need to have faith in one’s equipment (belief that the rigger correctly packed the parachute), faith in one’s training (reliance on the procedures and standards for safety), and faith in God (courage to exit the aircraft that comes from trusting in God).
No matter the military occupation skill or the situation that the warrior faces, faith is important. From the moment the warrior puts on the uniform at basic training until they separate from the military, they face death. Whether it is the fear of one’s own death, or the training in the killing of another, or engaging the enemy on the battlefield, each forces the warrior to decide what she or he truly believes. Faith becomes central.
Changing religious landscape
- The 2014 Religious Landscape Study suggests that the number of religiously unaffiliated is growing among the Millennials.
- This is the largest age demographic of our warriors.
- Therefore, our men and women in uniform are among the least likely to be part of a faith community.
Until next week, I look forward to your reply and continued conversation…