A Victor’s Crown
British sprinter Derek Redmond qualified for the 400 meters with the fastest time in his semifinal heat at the 1992 Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Redmond’s dream of winning Olympic gold dissipated when he was suddenly halted midway through the race by a hamstring injury. All the years of hard training and sacrifices to participate in the Olympic games were now for naught. His untimely injury made it impossible for him to advance to the finals and win Olympic gold. Instead of leaving the track, Redmond stood up, limping and in tears, continued in determination to cross the finish line and complete the race. He was able to make it to the finish line with the assistance and support of his father, who pushed his way by security to make it to the side of his son. Together, they would finish the course.
Redmond’s determination to finish the race and cross the finish line is a reminder of the aged apostle Paul’s declaration at the end of his ministry in 2 Timothy 4:7 (KJV): “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” Of particular importance to me are the words, “I have finished my course.” Like Paul, all of us have a course to complete. God has mapped out a course for all of us. Our courses vary and are all different. Like Derek Redmond in the 1992 Olympic games, we must persevere through pain, setbacks and disappointments and be determined to finish the course God has set.
The good news for us as believers is that all who successfully complete their course will receive the victor’s crown. Scripture tells us that the race is not only to the fastest or the strongest, but a victor’s reward will be bestowed upon all who persevere through obstacles and endure to the end. Jesus set the perfect example for us when He entered human history to serve as our substitute and clear the course for us leading to Heaven. He overcame the agony of suffering in Gethsemane and bore His cross all the way to Calvary to pay the ultimate sacrifice for fallen humanity. He is now cheering us on from glory, declaring in Revelation 3:21, “To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat down with my Father on his throne.” What motivation to complete our course and to be privileged and honored to sit with our Savior on His throne!
By Tyrone Douglas, Pastor and Children’s Ministries Coordinator