Jesus answered them, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, “Be lifted up and thrown into the sea”, it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.’ [Matthew 21: 21-22]

When I decided to seek a commission in the United States Army, I had a simple goal – to be a part of something larger than myself and live every day of my life making a difference. That simple goal was what drove me throughout my successful career in the Army, and I was fairly content with what I had perceived as having lived a life of making a difference in the world each day. That is, of course, until one day, I began to question what it means to be making a difference in the world.

The United States had been at war against terrorism for almost 10 years when I began questioning what it meant to be making a difference in the world. Yes, we had made much progress in fighting various terrorist organizations around the world and making a difference in the world, but the progress we had achieved seemed superficial at best. Despite all our efforts and sacrifices, fundamental causes of terrorism were not being addressed – attacks against innocent people continued, and innocent families were being torn apart by a phenomenon that did not seem to have an end. My faith began to waver. Everything I had believed in, and everything I had lived for throughout my adult life, were in question. If there truly is a God, why is He allowing these atrocities to persist?

After much wandering, I found the answer in the most unexpected place – through prayer. God showed me that what I have been working for was treating the symptom of a much deeper problem. It was not that what I was doing was not making a difference in the world, but I was a part of the short-term solution (which is still very important) to a long-term problem. He showed me that the way to get to the root of the problem is through educating our young so that they may perceive the issues with different eyes and ideas. So, I parted ways with my beloved Army and began walking the path of becoming a university professor so that I can have a part in educating our next generation.

What is the point of this story? All of this is my way of asking you, my brothers and sisters, to have faith in God and in Christ our savior. Throughout this Advent season, meditate upon where we have been, where we are, and where we need to be and keep the faith that God, through Christ, will show us the way – even through, no, especially through, the darkest of times.