Courage to Finish the Race

Derek Redmond Barcelona 1992

Photo credit: STAFF/AFP/Getty Images

Some of you may remember the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and some of you may be too young to. It was during this time, that an aspiring British track star named Derek Redmond took the starting block in the men’s 400m semi-finals. He was the favorite to win.

But mId-way through the race, Derek felt an excruciating pain in his leg. His hamstring snapped and he collapsed to the ground. Trying to pick himself up from the ground, Derek hobbled along, quite determined to finish anyway. But he was in so much pain that he just wanted to quit.

Suddenly, some random older man sporting a hat with Nike’s famous, “Just Do It” slogan came charging out of the stands and onto the track. He pushed his way past security to be by Derek’s side…

That man was Derek’s dad.

His father helped carry Derek the rest of the way, much to the surprise of the crowd. Together, they were able to finish the race. No, Derek never earned an Olympic medal that day, and afterwards, Derek was told by doctors that he would never race again, or even compete in sports altogether because of his injury. But it was his father who in spite of the odds stacked against him, encouraged his son to try other sports, in which Derek surprisingly found great success in!

What I like about this story is that it is a perfect analogy of the Heavenly Father’s love for us, His sons (and daughters).

There is an excerpt from Hebrews 12:1-2 that says…
“…And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…”

The writer of Hebrews knows the spiritual race is tough. But he wants the reader to persevere in that faith. He’s essentially saying, don’t you quit on God, even though it’s painful, even though you might be spiritually injured. Set your sights on Jesus and you cannot lose. It’s not a sprint—it’s long distance running.

We can take Derek Redmond’s story and apply it to the Father-son relationship God has with us.

As Dr. Tony Evans further explains, Derek’s father was up high in the stands that day, looking down, seeing his son who had broken down. But he loved his son so much, that he came down to ground level and helped him along. If He has to, God will DRAG your butt across the finish line. You WILL make it. You cannot lose. Fixate on Jesus and keep your eyes on Him to walk with you through your struggles.

Before you give up, LOOK UP.

Now if you want to see God’s love caught on camera for yourself, then please watch this video. I hope it will inspire you to keep persevering in your own race. Lord knows, I need inspiration like this in my journey to keep going and not to lose heart…

Isaiah 46:4
Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. When times get tough, it’s good to remember these things.