Races, Hurdles, and Mountain Climbing
By Sarah Shuey
If your household is anything like ours, you’ve spent the past few weeks completely exhausted due to late nights, feeling a mix of elation, pride, and at times, disappointment. Thank goodness the Olympics only come around every few years! I greatly enjoy cheering on the underdog, watching record breakers defy the odds, and even crying along with those crying on screen. I’ve learned more about synchronized diving than I ever knew before. During those 16 days, we watch events we would never watch otherwise. For example, the other day, my TV screen was showing four different events: golf, tennis, badminton (which they take incredibly seriously, by the way), and trampoline gymnastics. Who knew that trampoline gymnastics was a thing? I sure didn’t and apparently it’s been around since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
One of the greatest parts of the Olympics is hearing the stories. There are so many GOOD stories about athletes and their families – abandonment, fleeing countries, incredible comebacks of all kinds, surgeries, and the list goes on. Sometimes the best stories come after the medal. David Boudia and Steele Johnson took home a silver medal for the men’s synchronized diving. Not only are they amazing at an event that I can’t comprehend, but when interviewed about their success, the first thing they both said was amazing to witness. Both men stated that their identity is in Christ, not in silver medals and awards. How awesome is that!?! We are not defined by the things we do or the things that happen to us but by the One that created us. These men spoke boldly for Christ on one of the biggest platforms around. They were interviewed live on national television about their success and they made it clear that Christ was the most important thing to them. That just amazes and excites me to see people living for Him so publicly.
Our Christian faith can sometimes feel like a race. Maybe not quite as fast as record breaker Usain Bolt, but a race nonetheless. Often times it may feel like hurdles with the ups and downs we face. Or other times it may be more like extreme mountain climbing (if that were an Olympic sport). In the beginning of Hebrews chapter 12 we read “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfect or of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scoring its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Don’t lose heart in this race. Jesus overcame it all for us. Then in 1 Corinthians, Paul says in his letter “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”
This race we are running has a glorious finish line. Eternity with Christ. It doesn’t get much better than that! These athletes compete with the end goal in mind: the gold medal. We run with the end in mind as well: Jesus.
Finish strong, my friends. The end is worth it. I promise.