As we come together for this Air Force Academy reunion of ‘74 it is wonderful to hear stories about what people remember from their time at the Academy and their exploits afterwards. But our time here on earth, as exciting as it is, is but a vapor—here, then gone. For me, it is even more impactful to hear about how my fellow classmates are following Jesus, and looking forward to being together in eternity.
The highlight of previous reunions has been when many of our classmates will get together and talk about what God has been doing in our lives. Although we spend just a few minutes each (except for the occasional windbags—you know who you are J), we hear hours of incredible stories of triumphs, defeats, reconciliations, and resurrection. It is always amazing to hear the stories, see experiences that we thought were terrible at the moment, but that we can now look back, shake our heads, and laugh about them--amazed we survived. There have been some life threatening and harrowing adventures but God has seen us through. It is in these hard times that God has shown up the most. As we go through the tough times, it sometimes feels like we are all alone in the world but in reality God is carrying us on his shoulders and helping us through the struggle.
Seeing the career paths that many of us have taken is kind of impressive. Most of us are not where we expected to be. Many of the achievements that have been accomplished have been a bit surprising to me. Let’s be honest, I never thought some of us would go on to accomplish so much after some of the stunts that were pulled at the Academy. We were so young and bull headed back then. I am astonished that we, as a class, have been so successful! The variety of fields and vocations that I have seen people enter into is quite astonishing yet incredibly exciting.
It is neat to hear about our many classmates who are in full-time ministry, from Mike Schmidt with the Navigators and his military ministry (that seems appropriate), to Mark Harlan and his amazing ministry to those in the Muslim world. But we don’t need to be in full-time ministry to have full time impact, as our friends Warren Priddy, Greg Findlay, Don Swallow, Tom Holkeboer, and so many others have shown.
Although it is always thrilling to discover how God is working in someone’s life, it is especially awesome when it is one of our classmates. I am constantly astounded how God works through family, work, friends, and even Academy classmates to show us His sovereignty and grace to us.