To the Finish Line
a devotional by Tim Lawrence

The following story was taken from the site:

“Several years ago when the Olympics were held in Barcelona, Spain, the world saw one of the greatest moments in Olympic history.

Derek Redmond, a young man from Britain, had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal in the 400 meter race. He had worked hard to get to the Olympics and his dream was within his reach. He was in the semi-finals and was running the race of his life. He could see the finish line just ahead as he rounded the final turn. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in the back of his leg and he fell to the track with a torn muscle in his right leg.

As the medical attendants ran toward him, Derek struggled to his feet. He started to hop toward the finish line on one foot in an attempt to finish the race.

Suddenly, a large man came out of the stands, pushed aside a security guard and ran to Derek’s side. It was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father.

“You don’t have to do this,” he told his son. “Yes, I do,” said Derek. “Well, then,” said his father, “we’re going to finish this together.”

And they did. They stayed in Derek’s lane all the way to the end. At first, the crowd watched in silence. Then they rose to their feet and cheered — and wept.

(watch the story unfold in the video below)

Derek Redmond didn’t win the gold medal, but he walked away with the incredible memory of a loving father who, when he saw his son in pain, left his seat in the stands to help him finish the race.”

As I watched the video clip of this race, I pictured myself as Derek. The race was going well until Derek stumbles and falls. He gets back up and tries to finish on his own, but can’t. His father then comes to his side and offers assistance. Derek doesn’t accept it and keeps trying to do it on his own, but his father doesn’t leave.

When the pain became too great, he finally surrendered his will to his father who was still by his side. As they neared the finish line, people came and tried to stop them but Derek’s father pushed them away and kept on moving.

I see this as an excellent picture of how God as our father is always by our side.
He offers His help even before we think we need it, even when we push Him aside. When trouble comes and we are tempted to sin, He never leaves. He is there waiting for us. Even when we stumble and fall He is there to pick us up.

Psalm 139:7 “Where can I go from your spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?”

The image of Derek’s father pushing those away who were trying to stop them reminds me of our Father protecting us. We surrender to Him and take shelter under His “arm” – He will protect us. He will defend us, but we must trust Him to do it His way. He will carry us to the finish line.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”Hebrews 12:1-2

Jesus is designer of our “race course”. Should we not trust Him to guide us to the finish? Should we not trust that he has our best in mind? Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord”,

“Life is like a race that has been set before us. We may struggle and face many obstacles, but we have a great crowd of witnesses who are cheering us on. We have a Heavenly Father who loves us and will help us when the pain is too great. We have a Savior, who left His place in heaven and came to earth to show us how to run the race. If we will keep our eyes on Him, how can we help but finish the race?”

Keep Running the Race,
Tim Lawrence