The 2016 Rio Olympics closed on Sunday, bringing to an end our best national performance since the games began and instilling a great sense of national pride. Our athletes have come home with 67 medals – 27 of which were gold. It’s a huge achievement for all those involved.
One of the greatest victories of this games has to be Mo Farah’s triumphant performance in the 10,000m. We all know he is a running force to be reckoned with, but what made this win even more incredible was that he fell mid race. Not a little stumble or a misstep, but face down on the track as the other runners carried on around him. It made for nerve-wracking viewing as his hopes of a medal seemed to drift away on the tropical breeze.
And yet, he got up and kept running, going on to win the gold!
No one likes trials or challenges: those things in life that sneak up from behind and trip us up or, sometimes, come right up and hit us in the face.
We don’t enjoy falling or failing. We fear others looking on, whispering to one another, ‘another one bites the dust’. But, just as training developed in Mo a perseverance, so that when it really needed to count he was hardwired to get up and keep running, and even win, so the Bible encourages us as Christians to do the same.
James 1:2 tells us to consider it ‘pure joy’ when we face trials, because this develops a perseverance in our faith like nothing else can. Such a determined faith helps us to be ‘mature and complete, not lacking anything’.
What James encourages is not easy, especially in our culture of ‘quick fixes’, but I do believe it’s worth it. In my own life, I can see that the very trials that made me fall and feel like I was biting the dust were the ones which (after struggling to get back up and keep running) have shaped me and brought me personal victories and breakthroughs I would not otherwise have seen.
Whether it’s a challenging job, troublesome children, or difficult patients, whatever trial you are in right now and however many times you fall, I’d encouraged you, with God’s help, to get up and keep running towards the one who will take you on to victory even greater than a gold medal.