Monday, February 17, 2014

.52 Seconds

More Olympic-Sized Thoughts from Sochi...

 If you've been following the Olympics, you know that the USA's beloved Bode Miller finished 8th in the Downhill Ski Finals. There was pressure from the start. Bode had taken first place in two out of three preliminary runs. He pushed of the starting block and excelled at the top of the hill, as usual. As his run continued, he started to lose ground. And when I say lose ground, I mean .09, .24, .28 kind of ground. One wrong positioning of a ski, and BAM!... you've lost a tenth of a second. So the announcers knew it, Bode knew it, and if you've seen the clip of his know she knew it. The run that mattered, the run that could provide a medal around his neck was just not good enough. He missed the gold by .52 seconds.

Have you ever missed an opportunity or a victory by that small of a margin? There is something so disturbing and painful about missing a success by such a small margin. Out of all of the places in Olympic standings, 4th is my least favorite. 4th! If you get 2nd or 3rd, you get a medal and a anthem's length time on the podium. If you come in 4th, you want everyone to know that you are still an Olympic athlete and on any other day, it could have been YOU that stood on the podium and waved your flag for a victory lap. 

In high school, I was a Musical Theatre nerd and spent my days and nights memorizing lines, choreography and melodies. Dress rehearsals were always quite comical with the line slips, the technical glitches, the costume malfunctions, the orchestra tempos and the missed cues. Yet somehow, we pulled it all together just in time for the curtains to be pulled back for opening night. After one particular dress rehearsal, I received a plaque as a gift that reads,

 "Life is not a dress rehearsal... Go for it!" 

Here's the thing... If you belong to Jesus, you are living your eternity. Make it count! We can't be timid about our pursuits because of fear, failure or any other barrier. Life will not always lead us to the platform with a gold medal hanging around our neck. We will place fourth. We will place last. We will be disqualified. We will face injuries. We will be treated unfairly. We will be victims of subjective scoring. But it is not about whether we face tribulation, it is how we handle the tribulation. Colossians 3:23 says, "Whatever you do, do it ENTHUSIASTICALLY, as doing it for the Lord and not for men." God doesn't care if we place fourth or fail at an attempted project. He cares how we handle ourselves when we miss the mark and we must deal with our loss, sorrow and disappointment. Edwin Chapin, an American preacher in the 1800s, once said of tribulation:

 "Tribulation will not hurt you, unless as it too often does; it makes you sour, narrow and skeptical."  

4th place only hurts when a soured competitor allows the sting. Rejoice in your success. Rejoice in your gifts and talents. Allow God to work THROUGH you as you work FOR Him! 

*On a side note, Bode Miller shook it off and went on to place Bronze in the Super-G! Go Bode!!!


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