Pro Deo Et Patria- An Army Chaplain

I am a chaplain in the US Army, serving in Iraq. I'm keeping a blog to share my thoughts and experiences while deployed. They are my thoughts and they don't necessarily reflect the opinions of the US Army! :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Living out the "why"

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." - C.S. Lewis

I woke up early this morning (or night... when is it early enough to be night and not morning?) when my cell phone rang, and I was informed that we had a Red Cross message for a Soldier. Red Cross messages are ways for people back home to communicate an emergency (such as a death in the family) to Soldiers. They are never pleasant.

Now I'm sitting at my computer. Once I wake up I'm usually up for good, and it's almost time for breakfast now, so I think I'm up for the day.

But I had a strangely nice experience after I met with the Soldier in question. I walked outside, and the morning was a cool one... it really feels nice when it cools down. There was a breeze blowing, and the palm trees were silouetted against a beautiful moon surrounded by stars. I just had a moment of thanking God for allowing me to be in this place, doing His work. I feel blessed to know God, and to be able to see His greater hand at work.

My question this morning is this: are you living out the "why" of your life? You see, God has a reason for all of us to exist... yet, we move through this life, as though under anesthesia, numb to the "God-reality" around us. Most people live day to day- working to finish a list of tasks that life brings, but never asking or seeking out the Big Picture.

Our existence has meaning and purpose. C.S. Lewis also wrote: "It is only when you are asked to believe in Reason coming from non-reason that you must cry Halt. Human minds. They do not come from nowhere." Do you believe that or not? Does our consciousness, our self-awareness, our ability to love.... does it all come from nowhere? Like a lunatic in a cell, we might be tempted to scribble darkness and pretend that the light doesn't exist. The fact that we spend most of our lives ignoring the reality of God doesn't change God, rather, it changes us.

But God is. Do you believe that? Or, do you pretend that the good things of life- love, laughter, joy, peace, time with family, meaning, purpose.... do you pretend that those wonderful things somehow non-sensically have come about in this universe by accident? Or, even worse, do you say that you believe in God, but do not live in a way that shows any evidence of it?

Have you answered the "why" when it comes to your life?

One last quote from Lewis: "God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris - It's after midnight here, and I've just experienced one of those days where it felt like Satan was on a personal vendetta and out to discourage me today. Even the day was dreary, cold, and rainy. Even my morning was was slower than usual. And to top it off, my sermon yesterday was entitled, "Living for Christ." In it, I talked about the importance of allowing God to be in the driver's seat of one's life, regardless of what may happen. So here I am, weary and exhausted; yet something told me to check out your blog. Thank you for the reminder to live out the why of my life. It truly is a blessing to be a child of God and allow His light to guide us. Thank you for everything you are doing over there! God bless - Paula

8:19 AM  
Anonymous Mark True said...


Thanks for the reminder and the fantastic word picture that reminded you to thank God. It was a wonderful morning here...warm enough and wet enough to feel like spring instead of early fall. I slowed enough to notice, but not enough to thank God for providing it.

Thanks for the reminder...again.


6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just got home from a meeting at church. I find your comments of the day to fit in well with my thoughts. What might God have in mind for us as we seek to listen to His voice and leading in our lives? exciting/scary You're in my prayers, Lisa D.

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

Agreed. Thank you so much for giving my spirit a lift this morning as well. Life can get so busy that we lose our focus on what truly matters and how to live for Christ. Thank you for helping me refocus.

5:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I know the profound effect that C. S. Lewis has had on your personal faith. I don't know if you remember when I gave you Dag Hammerskjolds' Journal "Markings". Your blog in many ways reminds me of the spiritual journey that Hammerskjold chronicled in Markings. In Swedish, it translates as mileposts. One of the most moving entries I found was the following:

""Give me a pure heart-that I may see thee,
A humble heart-that I may hear thee,
A heart of love-that I may serve thee,
A heart of faith-that I may abide in thee"

Your journey as chronicled in your blog reminds me of the spirituality of Hammerskjold.

Love Dad

9:56 PM  
Anonymous Margit Anne said...

Chris-thank you for the wonderfully inspiring blog. By the way, I got your messages about the Gophers...I am sad I keep missing your calls. And I suppose (only because you are far away) that I can bow down and admit the Gophers suck :(

Miss you and love you,
Your Sis

12:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris--your sister's most recent post caught me a little off guard and I laughed so hard I sprayed Frosted Flakes at the monitor! Oh well, at least the big chuncks are easier to clean up than if I had been swigging coffee!

Have a great day! Love you! Miss you! We have your back!


10:42 AM  

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