I really like watching the Olympics, whether it be the Summer Games or the Winter Games as are going on now. Watching this year's events is extra special because I had the good fortune of visiting Whistler, British Columbia a few years ago to speak at a conference. It's truly as beautiful as the television cameras make it seem. It is, as many people say, God's country.
When I watch these events, I try to see the parallel between the athletes and their respective competitions and of my own life and personal challenges. The other day, I was made aware of such a comparison. The event was the Women's Sprint Cross Country race. One of the competitors had taken a really bad spill earlier in the morning during a practice session. Petra Majdič of Slovenia actually went off course and landed on some rocks in a ravine 10 feet below. After some medical attention, she got back on her skies and continued skiing. A few hours later she had to compete in a total of four races - three qualifying races and the final. In the final, she finished 3rd and captured a bronze medal. At the end of the race, I watched her collapse to the snow in pain. Another trip to the hospital and a few xrays later showed that her ribs were broken. See a video of her efforts.
Imagine skiing four races with four broken ribs. That takes a lot of determination and mental toughness. Fortunately, her years of training and ability to withstand heartache and physical pain paid off as she was rewarded with a medal.
Sometimes our faith journey is difficult. It's often accompanied with heartache, the unknown, dry seasons and trying times. God allows all your life circumstances to happen. He orchestrates many of the tough times so that your faith may grow. Sometimes he allows you to "fall into a ravine onto a rock" and gives you an opportunity to make a choice to turn to him to get you through the "races" of your life that follow.
When really difficult times and seemingly unbearable stressful situations occur in your life, how do you cope? What gets you through?
Perhaps you are going through a really difficult time in your life. It may be a health issue, a relationship issue or an employment or financial challenge. Whatever your life challenge, I encourage you to keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the perfecter of your faith. Remember what he endured on the cross so that, like him, you can withstand your trial - so that you will not lose heart and grow weary. Hebrews 12:2-3