Great drama always comes boiling to the surface at the Olympic Games. The 1992 Games in Barcelona were no exception. A British runner by the name of Derek Redmond had his sights set on winning his 400 meter semi-final heat and running in the finals. About 250 meters from the finish, Derek’s hamstring snapped and he fell to the ground. Medical personnel rushed over to help him, but he waved them off and grimacing in pain, got up and hobbled down the track desperately trying to finish his heat.
His father, seeing all this and knowing his son needed help, barged past security, ran down to the field, wrapped his arms around his son’s shoulders and walked with him to the finish line. Once Derek crossed the finish line, the crowd of 65,000 rose to give him a standing ovation.
In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul writes: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (NIV) There are days when we all long to quit. When life becomes just too difficult, too painful to move. Yet, we pick ourselves up and we keep going. Sometimes, there are friends and family cheering us on. They walk the entire course with us providing support, “Come on, you can do it! Don’t give up, you are almost there.”
But then there are other times when you look around and you are all alone. There is no one with you, no one at your side and no one cheering you on. Loneliness and discouragement set in. It’s easy to give up on those days. We become so discouraged we lose sight of the finish line.
But rather than giving up, it is on those days, I need, we all need, to listen more closely, more intently to the still small voice of our Heavenly Father. Like Joe Redmond, Derek’s father, God is there to pick us up when we fall, there to hold us when we cry, hug us when we are lonely, cheer us on when no one else wants to take on that job. Even more importantly, He loves us just as we are; whether we win the gold medal or are disqualified like Derek Redmond. (Since Derek was helped across the finish line by his father, this officially disqualified him. Olympic records state he did not finish the race.)
Our Heavenly Father is cheering you on. He’s saying, “Keep going. Don’t give up! You are never alone. You are precious to Me. You can do it. I will help you every step of the way.”
We need to pay attention to the times God whispers just how much he loves us and is for us. It is not a matter of whether or not he speaks these words to us. It is always a matter of whether we listen or not.