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Clarify, Semper Fi

A Navy chaplain rediscovers God's purpose for his ministry

I spent the Gulf War living in a small tent next to an airstrip in the middle of the desert along with 4,500 Marines. My assignment was to serve as their chaplain.

As you may know, the Marine Corps motto is "Semper Fidelis," which means "always faithful." The Marines often abbreviate the motto to Semper Fi. It must be their recruit training experience that instills their love for writing, speaking, or shouting "Semper Fi" whenever the opportunity arises. Of course, the motto offers me wonderful cannon fodder for extemporaneous sermons to Marines regarding God's continued and permanent faithfulness to His children. Consider Deuteronomy 32:4: "He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he." Semper Fi!

That was a message I needed to hear at one point during the Gulf War. Discouraged, I sat in my tent wondering why God had me here. Why would God want me in the desert, surrounded by all the jet noise and frequent Scud ...

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