Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.1 Corinthians 9:24
Ever since I could remember, I’ve been engrossed in the Olympic Games, more so the Summer Games because I was a sprinter and can relate to all that goes through the mind once set in the blocks.
These days we get to see and hear all the ins and outs, the ups and downs in up-close and personals. We get a glimpse of what has gone on behind the scenes, all the disadvantages, all the hurdles along the way, the dreams cast in the mind milking cows or pounding endless miles of inner-city pavement.
As a believer I always hope that the victorious give credit and glory to God for his sovereign role in all of this, but only a few do, and you can tell when an athlete is genuinely empowered by the Lord, in glorious victory and the in agony and bitter disappointment of defeat. It can’t be contained.
Those who run or jump on their own power make sure you know how hard they worked, what a great plan they had, and how proud of themselves they are when they win. In reality, it’s by the grace of God that they safely ran the gauntlet. Case in point. In the course of the games you’ll see things happen that destroy the dreams of the most dedicated athlete. The heel of a shoe comes off, a bump from a shoulder causes a stumble, a dropped baton, a false start, a bad landing causing injury, and the list goes on. Only the believer can even attempt to put all this into perspective.
You see, on such a world stage, the Lord cares far more about using athletics to declare his glory in victory and defeat. A full declaration of the glory due him and the true victory in his son Jesus is what he expects.
The proud and self-confident have not won anything. Worse, those who squander the opportunity to give credit where credit is due, or obfuscate his role with common platitudes risk disqualification, not by the judges, but by the Judge.
Most of us possess little athletic ability, but we all should be athletes. We all run! As such, we need to run in such a way that we may win. We need to leave it all, with God’s strength, on the track called life.
Image: Abbey D’Agostino Cooper, Rio Olympics, 2016. Cooper and a fellow runner fell in the 5k run. Her first reaction was to help the other runner. Turns out she was severely injured in the fall but amazingly finished the race. Her recent comeback attempt fell short with a fourth place finish in the 5k Olympics trials, after a glorious breakaway run in her heat to gain a qualifiying time under the Olympic standard. A devout Christian, Abbey first fell to her knees to pray, then later gave the glory to God in her post-race interview.