As we run the race of life, the Lord will help us when we fall
In 1992, Derek Redmond traveled from England to the Olympic Summer Games in Barcelona with his father, Jim.
He had been training for years to win a medal in the 400-meter race.
As race time approached for the semifinal heat, the stadium was packed with 65,000 fans. The starting pistol went off and Redmond broke from the pack, quickly seizing the lead.
Down the backstretch, only 175 meters away from the finish line, Redmond heard a pop in his right hamstring.
He began hopping on one leg, then slowed down and fell to the track.
He laid on the track, clutching his quivering leg. Jim Redmond, seeing his son in trouble, raced down from the top row of the stands to be with him.
As the medical crew arrived with a stretcher, Redmond told them: “No, there’s no way I’m getting on that stretcher. I’m going to finish my race.”
Then, in a moment that will live forever in the minds of millions, Redmond lifted himself to his feet, ever so slowly, and started hobbling down the track. Suddenly, everyone realized that Redmond wasn’t dropping out of the race, but was actually continuing on one leg.
The crowd, in total disbelief, rose and began to cheer. The roar got louder and louder.
Redmond later stated, “I wasn’t doing it for the crowd, I was doing it for me. Whether people thought I was an idiot or a hero, I wanted to finish the race. I’m the one who has to live with it.”
Jim Redmond finally got to the bottom of the stands, leaped over the railing, avoided a security guard, and ran out to his son, with two security people chasing after him. “That’s my son out there,” he yelled back to security, “and I’m going to help him!”
Finally, Jim reached his son at the final curve, about 120 meters from the finish, and wrapped his arm around his waist.
“I’m here, son,” Jim said softly, hugging his boy. “We’ll finish together.”
Derek put his arms around his father’s shoulders and continued to sob.
A couple steps from the finish line, and with the crowd in an absolute frenzy, Jim released the grip he had on his son, so Derek could cross the finish line by himself.
Steve Lewis of the U.S. won the race… but the runner everyone will remember is Derek Redmond because he refused to quit!
Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us how to win our race of life: “…Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” (NIV)
When we’ve done all we can do and all of the odds seem stacked against us; our heavenly Father will come
down the stair steps of heaven to help us finish and win the race.
Rev. Doug Johnson is the senior pastor at Raven Assembly of God in Raven, Virginia.