Worth It

Kari and I spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Colorado Springs to watch one of the students from our youth ministry graduate from the United States Air Force Academy. If you have never experienced a military academy graduation, it is a pretty cool experience. The military band plays, the cadets march into the stadium with perfect precision, and at the end of the ceremony at the very second the emcee says "you are dismissed," the graduating class hurls their caps in the air as the Thunderbirds buzz the stadium at about 200 feet. It was an awe inspiring event. 

Both Tuesday and Wednesday, through all the pomp and circumstance, I found myself a little jealous of Ben. He's graduating near the top of his class and headed to Shepherd Air Force Base to fly jets. He will forever be known as an "Academy Graduate," which is a distinction very few people are fortunate enough (and smart enough) to have. And there was a part deep inside of me that wished I had gone to the Air Force Academy; that I was flying jets and being heralded as one of the "future leaders of our great nation." 

Then I remembered the letters. 

Somewhere I still have letters Ben sent me his first year at the USAFA. They would arrive with tear stains on them, begging anyone who would read the letter to pick him up and take him home. He was exhausted, demoralized, emotionally ragged, and would have quit in a heartbeat if someone would have driven the 700 miles to get him. 

When we see the pomp and circumstance, it's easy to wish it was us being celebrated. But when we count the cost, we tend to be glad it was someone else.  

I asked Ben yesterday if it was all worth it, and he didn't even bat an eye. He would do it again in a heartbeat in order to experience what he got to experience this week and for the rest of his life. 

The prize was in accordance with the cost. 

I won't ever graduate from a prestigious military academy (I am a proud graduate of the "Princeton of the Plains"). I won't ever fly jets for a living. The Vice President of the United States won't ever laud me as the future of this great country. 

I'm anticipating something greater. 

Some days I'm exhausted, tired, sleep-deprived, and would quit if only someone would come pick me up. I've written some tear-stained letters myself. But I'm confident the prize will be worth the cost (1 Corinthians 9:24-25; Hebrews 12:11). 


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