Every Olympics has its moment. A moment of triumph or tragedy that will stand out and mark that Olympics forever. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the defining moment in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona was the tragic race of british runner Derek Redmond. Redmond was almost sure to win the 400m semifinal race. Redmond was in the best condition of his life despite multiple surgeries on his achilles tendon in the prior four years. As Derek came around the first bend in the track, his hamstring tore. He later told reporters that the pain was so great that at first he thought he had been shot. London’s The Guardian newspaper quoted him, “Everything I had worked for was finished. I hated everybody. I hated the world. I hated hamstrings. I hated it all. I felt so bitter that I was injured again. I told myself I had to finish. I kept hopping round. Then, with 100 metres to go, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my old man.” For half a lap Derek hopped on one foot, hobbling toward the finish line, until his father helped him finish to a standing ovation.
As you run the race of faith, you too will have moments of tragedy. Circumstances will suddenly change. Moving forward will be painful and seemingly impossible. Get up off the track though and keep moving. Your heavenly father is watching. He will come and help you finish.
Some of you are on the track right now by doing a spiritual discipline for Lent. At some point you will probably find yourself not wanting to do it. You will find yourself saying that you are too tired or don’t have the time. You may even be right. That’s when you need to stop relying on your own strength and lean on God and do it anyways. What seems to you to be a failure, is just a moment to allow people to see the love of God. In your weakness God’s strength is revealed. Few people remember who won, the 1992 400m semi-finals or even who got the gold that year. Instead, in a moment of great tragedy the love of a father was revealed to the world. Through perseverance may your struggles reveal to the world your heavenly Father’s love.
Keep on getting up. Consider the words of Derek’s father and realize that your heavenly father loves you with that kind of love.
But whatever happens he was there to finish and I was there to help him finish. I intended to go over the line with him. We started his career together. I think we should finish it together.