“I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”  Isaiah 42:6-7


Mike and Maureen Smith both came from an extended heritage of military veterans. Maureen’s father and brother were both in the United States Army, and Mike’s grandfather and father were also in the Army. After high school, Mike enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He graduated from boot camp with honors as the platoon and the company honor graduate which brought a meritorious promotion to Lance-Corporal. During his nine years as a Marine, Mike traveled many places one of which was Southwest Asia to fight in the Persian Gulf War.


After participating in combat operations and being in a foreign country for nearly nine months, God kept Mike safe and brought him back home to his beloved country, the United States of America . Once home, God led him to a young lady at Clearwater Christian College in Clearwater , Florida . After dating for three years, Mike and Maureen were married. Mike would eventually receive numerous medals and decorations for his service and finally an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps.


He then began a new career as a law enforcement officer in Tampa , Florida . During his time as a police officer, he would again face many dangerous challenges while working as a street level narcotics officer in the project areas of Hillsborough County Florida. Many of those years he served as a sniper, on the county wide SWAT team. As before, God protected him through the many life threatening situations that he faced all the while doing a work in his heart which would eventually lead his growing family into full time ministry.


On September 11, 2001, as the United States of America was being attacked, Mike knew the military would be going to war as it had ten years before. That day a spark was re-ignited within his heart to once again be apart of the armed services. For the next few years, God continued to fan that flame as Mike accepted the position as youth pastor at Hillsdale Baptist Church in Tampa , Florida . It became clear that God was beginning to use his unique past experiences to assist with the ministries within his church and also to open new doors of opportunities elsewhere.


During a missions conference in 2004, Mike and Maureen were challenged with the overwhelming need of Independent Baptist chaplains within the military to share the truth of God’s Word and the spiritual freedom found in the saving power of Jesus Christ.


Finally, it all made sense. Mike’s past combat experiences, his time spent as a police officer, and the experience gained in a local church ministry, would all open many doors to minister to the more than 2.1 million men and women in uniform.


Credibility must be earned before a soldier will listen to a chaplain. Mike had instant credibility! In January, 2005, he accepted a commission in the United States Navy as a chaplain and now serves with a Marine Corps Reserve unit in Tampa , Florida . Upon completion of graduate school, Mike and his family will return to active duty.


Chaplain Mike Smith, Maureen

Andrew, Emmaly and Amber



In the following Message of Hope written by Chaplain Smith, it is our desire, at No Tears In Heaven, that each visitor will come to a better understanding of the challenges encountered among our men and women in the military and the burdens faced by the families of those serving active duty.


Chaplain Smith’s message shares real life occurrences of military personnel struggling with tremendous difficulties, brought on by war, causing internal conflicts with far reaching consequences.


As you will learn from Chaplain Smiths Message of Hope the call for help is as real as the morning of 9/11.


When in the darkest of moments, there seems to be  no comfort or shelter from the storm, Chaplain Smith shows how Jesus Christ will provide a Haven of Rest and a Promise of Hope bringing – Eternal Peace for the Weary Warrior




Cliff Gribick 


Founder of


No Tears In Heaven



Eternal Peace for the Weary Warrior




Chaplain Mike Smith – U.S.M.C




“Advice…please!  End of my rope!”


“I need help!  Please help me!”


“To anyone who will listen”


“Nowhere else to turn”


“Rock Bottom”






No, these are not a pilot’s last recorded messages as his aircraft goes down.  These words are taken from the subject lines of recent emails sent by men and women who wear America ’s military uniform.  This is only a sample of the many cries for help coming from our military veterans.  What is it, you may ask, that provokes our brave men and women to make such a dramatic plea?  As we take a closer look inside the emails, we will see the reason for the signals of distress.  The following are excerpts taken from only a few of the hundreds listed on a public military website.


“My name is David.  I served my country in Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Army’s 101st Airborne Division.  I want to say that I am very proud and honored to have served my country, but I returned from the war a changed man.  Around the fifth month of being back home, I found myself becoming angry and upset all the time and having a very short fuse which is not like me as I have always been a very calm and laid back person.  I have dropped out of college with no desire to follow through with anything and I have gone from job to job.  I have recurring nightmares and cannot imagine trying to raise a family in this world when I have seen the horrific death of so many others.  Loud noises startle me, I cannot stand to be in crowds because I feel I have to see and watch everyone.  I live in a world of constant fear and alertness. The military called it combat stress and possibly PTSD.  The Veterans Administration put me on Valium and told me I could seek disability.  I feel as if my life is spinning out of control, I have frequent thoughts of suicide, and thoughts of violence and I cannot understand why…can anyone truly understand?”


“I’ve recently been diagnosed with PTSD.  I thought I’d lost my mind, but the docs actually have a name for it.  The problems I am having are nightmares and not sleeping well when I do sleep.  I average four hours a night.  I have extreme anxiety at night and so I avoid going to sleep knowing I will be awaken abruptly by a nightmare.  Certain situations cause panic attacks, normal things that never bothered me before.  My brain knows I am not in danger but my body reacts otherwise.  I also find myself thinking about the things that happened over there that I am trying to forget.  It has changed me completely and it affects my family.  I isolate myself as much as possible.  I’m short-tempered; I’m a grouch all the time.  They sleep, I stay up all night.  They ask questions that I say I will answer someday, but I know I won’t, it just keeps them quiet for awhile.  I avoid people who bother me…maybe I am running away, but for now it’s what I need to do.  The docs gave me a prescription.  I don’t want to rely on drugs to stay sane.  I am on pain medication as well for my injuries but I know they will heal in time, but I am concerned that mentally I might not heal, and that’s a scary thought.  How do others cope?”


These are only two short examples of the thousands struggling with symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury, Combat Stress, and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).  As of the end of 2006, there were over 39,000 troops being treated for PTSD.  Statistics give 2/3 of all deployed veterans having acute symptoms fail to seek help because of the stigma associated with being labeled with PTSD or other brain related injuries.  In August, the Pentagon released a statement saying that active duty soldiers committed suicide last year at the highest rate in 26 years, with nearly one-third of those taking their lives doing so while deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan .  948 troops attempted suicide in 2006.  The mental health of soldiers and Marines has been a growing issue as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have required more troops to return to the combat zones multiple times.  In May, the Pentagon released a study that found one-third of soldiers and Marines had reported mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, after returning from combat.


Maybe you are reading this right now and I have just described you.  Perhaps you are currently on active duty or even in the reserves.  Maybe you have recently separated from the military, or maybe you are a war veteran of Korea , Vietnam , or the First Gulf War.  Maybe you have written a similar email or letter crying out for help.  If so, it is no accident that you find yourself reading this article.  I encourage you to finish it to the end for I believe the answer you and many others have been searching for is only a few words away.  If you are not in the military but find yourself reading this article, I also encourage you to continue to the end for you may know a veteran that could use the help that is found in this article.


My name is Mike Smith and I am a Marine.  I joined the Marine Corps during my senior year in high school.  Ten days after graduation, I was on a bus headed for Parris Island , South Carolina , better known as the United States Marine Corps Recruit Depot.  After being introduced to my “new mother, father, brother, sister, and girlfriend” all rolled up into one mean drill instructor, I knew I had made a mistake.  However, within a few short weeks I had acclimated to the environment and began to excel in the expectations presented by my new family.  I became the high shooter for my platoon as well as scoring the highest physical fitness score.  By the end of boot camp, God had blessed my efforts and I was awarded the highest honor given to a new Marine in boot camp.  During graduation, I was presented as not only the platoon honor man but the company honor man as well.  This automatically gave me a meritorious promotion to PFC and my new life as a Marine had begun.  


When I signed my paperwork to enlist in the Marine Corps, our country was experiencing a time of peace.  Other than Panama and other smaller conflicts, we were not a country at war.  However, in 1990, things changed and in short order I found myself living in the hot dry desert of Saudi Arabia .  Sadaam Hussein had invaded Kuwait and after his refusal to leave we were sent in to remove him by force.  I was assigned to a combat engineering platoon whose mission was to make roads or lanes through the mine fields so that the initial assault into Kuwait could begin.  Some called it the tip of the spear as the forward thrust into Kuwait began with our units.  


The next several days of ground combat and the following months of supposed cease-fire would change my life forever.  War, whether a short lived firefight or long standing engagement, cannot be accurately described by words.  The job description of destroying the enemy to accomplish the mission sounds reasonable enough in training until you actually have to act on that training.  Observing human life end in your presence whether it is the enemy or a friend leaves a mental image that can never be erased.  Recognizing that your hands might have carried out this fate only engrains that image further.  


Nine months later, I would step off the “freedom bird” back in the beloved USA to a handful of happy family members.  I assumed that I would resume life as I knew it before and everything would return to normal.  For a few months, it did.  Then things began to change.  I started having the same nightmares over and over.  I would find myself back in the desert at a certain location where those images had been engraved months before.  I would wake up full of sweat as though I had run a marathon.  I remember times of fear, waking abruptly and not being able to find my weapon.  I had a hard time relating to people and being sensitive to their needs.  If given a choice, I would rather be with very few people rather than in large crowds.  Patience with others was a great struggle and any comments against the military or our country was inexcusable and was taken as a provocation.  After awhile, I began to realize that I needed to address these issues in my own life and not ignore them.  The question I faced was who will understand or believe me?  Or who can relate to what I am going through without thinking I have lost my mind?


The body is designed to deal with trauma.  The trauma may be from an experience while deployed or even from another tragic event unrelated.  However, the reactions of the physical body following a traumatic event are perfectly normal.  Many of these natural reactions are also symptoms of TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), combat stress, or PTSD.  Medication is not the permanent answer as it only temporarily suppresses the symptoms.  After identifying the real issue, I began to deal with it the only way that would bring a lasting solution.  I had to go back to what I knew to be the Truth.


When I was a child, I made the most important decision of my life; a decision that would impact the rest of my life as well as in eternity.  With the help of family and friends, I was shown the only hope for a peaceful life in this difficult world.  One of the joys of living in America is freedom.  But living in America did not guarantee me peace nor did it guarantee my future after I died.  The decision I made as a child was to accept the Truth.  Many years later, it was in fact that Truth that helped me get through combat operations in Kuwait .  And it was also that same Truth that would help me deal with the scars of war and the difficulty of re-integrating into a normal society.  The Truth that I accepted as a young person has been with me every step of the way in my life.  There were times when I could not see the Truth because I was looking to myself for the answers.  But this Truth was always there, patiently waiting for me to exhaust my own efforts and finally realize the real answer was there all along.


If you are reading this and are searching for help, searching for answers, searching for hope, then you need nothing more than the Truth!  If you long to be saved from this nightmare that you are living, then you simply need the Truth.  May I share with you this Truth?


A man once said, “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”  This is the same Truth I am speaking about to you.  This man also said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”   So this man is saying that he is the Truth and that if you know him then you will be free.  That sounds simple enough, but who is this man?  Where does he live and how do you meet him?  


Long ago, this same man was traveling with his friends when he asked them that very question about himself, “Who do you say that I am?”  His friend, Peter, answered the question correctly and said, “You are Christ, the Son of the living God!”  This man spoke of the freedom that I obtained and that you are searching for when he proclaimed, “If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed!”  “I am come a light into the world, that whoever believeth on me shall not abide in darkness.”  You may feel that you are living in a state of darkness and despair with no end in sight.  You may be ready to quit, to give up, and to count all as loss.  But can I encourage you that there is hope; hope for a release from this prison that engulfs you.  


This man’s only mission on earth was to bring freedom, to bring peace, to bring salvation to all.  He said He was called “to open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”  But who could possibly do all these things?   What man has the ability to heal the deepest of wounds?  


This man’s name is JESUS CHRIST.  He is the only Son of our Creator, God. Approximately two-thousand years ago, God sent Jesus from heaven to earth on a mission to help mankind find peace.  Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you, which is why you and I were created.  But, since all mankind is born with a sin nature and God is a Holy God, meaning without sin, then we cannot have that relationship until the penalty or payment for our sin has been satisfied.  Jesus Christ was that payment.  He was the only man to walk this earth without sin.  He faced all the same temptations and trials that we face but yet he never sinned.  The only payment that God would accept for our sin was a sinless sacrifice and Jesus became that sacrifice for you and me.  He shed His blood and died for all the sins of mankind so that the penalty would forever be paid and we might have that desired relationship with a Holy God.  Three days after His death, Jesus came back to life completing the payment for all mankind.


The peace that awaits you is found in a relationship with your God.  The steps to that relationship are very simple.  You must first admit that you are a sinner.  The Word of God says in Romans 3:23 that “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”  In Romans 6:23, we see that “The wages of sin is death, (or separation from God) but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  It is a gift and we see in John 3:16 that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but shall have everlasting life.”  Second, you must accept this gift by believing in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.  Since it is a gift there is nothing that you can do to earn it.  Attending chapel or giving money in the offering does not obtain this salvation and peace.  The third and final step is to call on the name of Jesus to save you; personally ask Him to forgive you of your sins and change you.  You must place your total faith and trust in Him alone as your Savior.  Romans 10:9 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  


I accepted this gift of eternal life as a young boy, but it did not prevent me from going through the traumatic events in the military. The promise found in God’s Word is that He will be with us during our trials and will never leave us alone.  In Hebrews 13:5, He said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  In Psalm 46, we see that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”


I realized that I needed to quit looking to myself for the answers to my struggle but look to God who is able to heal all wounds and bring peace to all anxious hearts.  As I looked to God for help, He gave me all that He had promised.  It was not an instant recovery but instead it was the growing relationship that provided the comfort I needed.  I knew that God loved me and cared for me in even my difficult hours, and that His Word would be my guide.  Psalm 119:105 says, “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light unto my path.”  The source for my strength to deal with PTSD or combat stress or whatever the circumstance, is found in my relationship with my Creator and Heavenly Father.  If you truly seek peace and relief from this battle, you also must begin your relationship with Him as well.


Today, I have a wonderful family and God has blessed me in a great way.  I seldom experience the symptoms that we have discussed and God has given me the strength needed to re-integrate and love my family and friends again.  I am currently serving this great country of ours as a military chaplain.  God has given me a burden to reach out to our men and women who are struggling in ways very similar to my own experiences.  I have been where you have been and I want to bring a Message of Hope to all of our military that God is faithful and He is Truth and by having this Truth in your life, you also can experience the blessings of peace and eternal security.  God wants to heal you and He will if you will trust in Him.  You can do this right now, right where you are.  Simply pray from your heart to God; he will hear you and will save you today!


While we at home enjoy the precious gift of freedom it should be remembered freedom comes at a cost, given to us through God’s grace and mercy, and through the dedication and lives of those having gone before and currently serving in the United States Armed Forces.


The Message of Hope, Eternal Peace For The Warrior, presented by No Tears In Heaven, is not about politics or religion. But of the One Who transcends both, by Whom all Wisdom and Truth emanates, Jesus Christ – God incarnate.


 “Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” Proverbs 4:5


  “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6


If you should have a prayer request for a member of the Armed Services please visit the dedicated area set aside for the military found on No Tears In Heaven.


Additionally if there is any military service member or family member that would like a complimentary set of the Military Series Gospel Tracts, as featured on this page, just send Chaplain Mike Smith an email, by visiting  With your request include shipping address and Chaplain Smith will send the Military Series Gospel Tracts free of charge




Cliff Gribick


Founder of No Tears In Heaven  


© 2009. No part of this page within No Tears In Heaven may be reproduced or reused in any way, electronic or print, without the expressed permission of the webmaster of No Tears In Heaven, or its respective author -Chaplain Mike Smith. To contact Chaplain Smith directly please visit