There are few of us who could ever aspire to run on the track, throw a discus or leap over a high jump bar on the main arena at the Olympics. In fact, we can’t even begin to understand what these athletes go through with the burden of a sometimes fickle public weighing heavily on their shoulders, then fail.
Consider Chinese world champion Liu Zhang who pulled a hamstring and failed to clear the first hurdle before a crowd of 80,000 in the stands as his dreams of another gold medal lay crushed and broken.
Like athletes, Christians with the love of Christ in their hearts develop an unshakeable drive to represent that faith with all the strength they have, and we too fail, however unlike our Olympic athletes, we need only to be accountable to an audience of one. Jesus Christ.
London’s Olympic Park was packed to capacity as Usain Bolt came off the blocks, not with his best start for a 100m but then cranked up and with all guns blazing stormed across the finish line in 9.63 seconds, demolishing a world class field to defend the gold medal he won in Beijing 4 years ago.
Now that the athletics are well and truly underway, the excitement in London has ramped up. The London crowds are loving the success of their Team GB. For the first week of the Games you would scarcely have known that any other country was competing at the Olympics as the BBC concentrated their coverage on British competitors.
If you watched the local coverage of Andy Murray and Roger Federer you could be forgiven for thinking the commentary was more than a touch partisan to the home town hero as Federer placed some incredible returns without a hint of acknowledgement.
Lessons for consideration
I wonder if there is a lesson for Christians from these two events. Firstly, take Usain Bolt. He knew the heartbreak of his false start at the world championships that had him disqualified and feeling disgraced. He was not going to make that mistake again in London. Like Usain, it doesn’t matter what kind of a start you made in life, if you will accept the responsibility for where you went astray, seek forgiveness and change your ways then set your sights on the prize that this world cannot award, you can be a winner, right now and right where you stand today.
But what about Roger and Andy? Who could not celebrate Andy Murray’s win after trying so hard, so often and coming so close. It was a great match and a great result, but for me the touching moment was when Henry Caplan, an 11 year old lad from Essex, who, after slipping away from his dad in the crowd, slid past Roger Federer’s relatives in the player’s box, made his way through the crush and gave Andy, his gold medal hero a hug, watched by a full house and 71 million viewers around the world.
We don’t have to accept that the answer is no before we’ve even asked the question. I would be certain if Henry had asked his dad, “Could I go and give Andy Murray a hug”, his dad would have said “no way Henry, you can’t do that”. But taking his courage in both hands, Henry did get that hug and his hero, Andy Murray said, “Anything for a fan”.
Now this world may deem you so unworthy that you think, God would never want you. The answer is Yes, it’s not a no. God does love you just the way you are, right where you are and He is waiting for you to turn to Him with a prize of eternal life.
I’m Jonathan Mayne in London for Press Service International – Christian Today