In my opinion, one of the greatest moments in sports happened in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Derek Redmond had won his heat in the 400 meter dash and was racing in the semifinals. About halfway through the race, he tore his hamstring and grabbed the back of his right thigh. He could hardly move as he knelt to the ground. The other runners crossed the line to cheers, but then Derek stood back up and began hobbling towards the finish line himself. As he kind of skipped along, his dad ran out of the stands, put his arm around him and helped him finish the race. Derek had prepared his whole life for this moment. He was determined to finish the race, and he did.
Paul referred to the Christian life as a race in 2 Timothy 4:7. He said he had finished his course with all his might. He had been fought mentally his entire race as he had been one who had killed Christians for their faith. He had been fought physically as he had been beaten for preaching the Gospel. He had been fought emotionally as jealous people opposed him and the message he preached. Despite all these roadblocks, he continued to run his race. He didn’t let anything stand in his way. Instead, he kept his eyes on the finished line and pressed toward the mark for the high calling in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:13). The way he ran his race of faith is how we are to run ours.
In Philippians 1:27, he encouraged other believers by writing, “Whatever happens, keep living your lives based on the reality of the gospel of Christ” (TPT). Like Paul and Derek, we must not let the things that happen to us keep us from reaching our goal. We must press on despite the roadblocks that stand in our way or the circumstances that trip us up. There have been times in my life when I was hobbling in my faith and others came along side me to help me along when I couldn’t advance on my own. If you’re hobbling or struggling, ask a friend to help you along and pray that God will strengthen you to help you finish the race. We all go through those times. The important thing is to keep living your life of faith no matter what comes your way, and you will receive the crown of righteousness. Don’t stop. Keep pressing on. Finish your race.
If you’d like to see Derek Redmond run his race, click here.