When I hear the phrase “rooted in faith,” I think of Mike. The most athletic and committed student on the university track and […]
Published on: 05-31-2019
When I hear the phrase “rooted in faith,” I think of Mike.
The most athletic and committed student on the university track and field team, Mike was always prepared for class, helped peers, volunteered. He enlisted in the military as a medic after September 11. On our last day of the semester he stopped by my office. “I know God will watch over me. Can I make that promise to everyone else? I’m about to see death up close. How do I tell people: ‘God’s not leaving you behind’? I guess just stay rooted in faith. Remind myself that God is with me.”
I try not to cry as I realize Mike’s calling is quite heavy. Rooted in faith . . . I like that. I never heard from him again.
Seven years later, while on call at a pediatrics hospital, I visit a family whose child is having a leg amputated. The doctor arrives, explains the procedure, then sits next to the young boy: “I’ll do my best for you. Don’t worry, buddy—God’s not leaving you behind when we get into the OR. He’s coming along.”
The doctor stands, looks at me, smiles, and says: “Chaplain, a prayer before we go?” Rooted in faith.
Hours later we sit and catch up. Mike, the pediatrics orthopedic surgeon, lost both legs in an explosion abroad. He knows from experience all the therapy the boy will need, and this creates a deeper kindness in him. “It was a tough time, but God never left me behind. I never let go of Him. I felt uprooted, replanted, new roots growing deeper, with a desire to serve. I learned to walk again.”
On the drive home I thank God for reminding me that being rooted in faith is the only way to walk.