A gold star is a symbol of excellence. Most of us go through life desiring gold stars. Whether it be in school, business, sports, or other endeavors, we strive for the best.
As a teacher, I save gold stars and only award them for special achievements. However, there is one gold star I never want to earn.
As parents of a United States Marine, we were honored as the local chapter of the American Legion Post 181 came to our home to present us with a blue star banner. It hangs proudly on our window, representing our son, Jordan, serving overseas.
My husband and I have prayed often that it would never be replaced by a gold star banner.
Gold stars are awarded to parents of United States armed forces members who have died while in service for their country. They are an elite group we honor and respect, having paid the ultimate sacrifice for America’s freedom, their child’s life.
I remember so vividly the last time we drove our son to the airport. He had already served a tour in Iraq and was headed for an even more dangerous deployment in Afghanistan.
We hugged, not wanting to let him go, then watched and watched as he slowly walked toward his destiny, until we could no longer catch a glimpse of him. We both knew it may be the last time we saw our son alive. Then we had to turn in agony and walk the opposite way, with hearts so heavy our feet trudged, tears streaming and blurring our vision.
In the remaining months we experienced a growing trust in God. Our fears were real, but so was the power of the Almighty.
Soon reports started to pour in of divine intervention of him and his troops- surviving IED explosions, suicide bombers, and close-range fire. There seemed never to be a dull day and never a day when we, and a team of supportive friends did not pray.
As Christians we know God is all powerful, but He is also all sovereign. He does not promise his followers a happy-ever-after. Even his close disciples were each martyred for the cause of Christianity.
However, God does promise to be with us in times of trouble here on earth and to offer us eternal life. His presence is what helps us face our greatest fears, the worst scenarios.
Death may seem the worst fate, yet for a Christian it means everlasting life in Heaven. With Christ it is possible to turn tragedy to triumph.
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.” 2 Tim. 1:7
We praise God and give Him all the glory as we anticipate Jordan’s return this month. We are ready with a hero’s welcome.
We celebrate his entire troop surviving and coming home safely from the war, and now pray for their transition into civilian life.
It is only now that I can write this article. The emotion before, while he was still in the war, was too intense. But I realized that our Heavenly Father experienced this pain much more grievously.
He sent His Son off to the world, not hoping he would survive, but knowing that He would most certainly die.
Our omniscient God knew Christ would face death in the form of a painful crucifixion: great pain for great gain. His one-time sacrifice would offer humanity spiritual freedom from the punishment of sin. Certainly our Lord’s love is worthy of the greatest gold star.