The Rockford Files

Burning Bright in the Darkness

        I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

To discover, at his memorial service, that Dr. John Addison Howard’s favorite verse of Scripture was Philippians 4:11 came as no surprise to anyone who knew him well.  Those who had simply met him once or twice, or never bothered to take the measure of the man, might find it hard to believe, though, because Dr. Howard burned every moment with a passionate intensity.  You could see it in his eyes, hear it in his voice, feel it in the gestures of his hands.  He knew that there were many things wrong with the world today, and if he did not know how to fix them (and very often, of course, he was certain that he did), he still knew that he—and we—had to try.

The fire that burned inside of Dr. Howard was not that of ideology—“the fire in the minds of men” that consumes all that is good in the world and lays waste to tradition and to faith.  It was, rather, the fire of faith—a Christian faith so deeply held that it became as much a part of his body as of his soul.  His faith wasn’t an intellectual exercise but a reality, inseparable from every other aspect of who John Howard was—and who he is, because the resurrection that he believed in is real.  Not that he ever doubted that—thus, his contentment in the face of all troubles and...

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