“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” — 2 Timothy 4:7
Finish Your Course
I well recall the scene during the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah. Up at Solider Hollow, a memorable moment took place as a young, American skier named Bode Miller attempted to win a medal in his first Olympics. In downhill skiing, there is the slalom event in which the skier must navigate a tight course down the side of a mountain. These courses are often very tricky, leaving no room for error on the part of the competitors. They can also be timed, putting even more pressure on the participants to ski a clean run and also turn in a good time. If even one gate is missed in the course, you are out of the race and your time does not count.
As the race went on, Miller had a shot at the podium if he turned in a good run. Time after time, other skiers went down the course, some making it to the bottom cleanly but below the time, others doing well in both execution and time, still others failing to finish because they crashed or missed a gate.
It was Miller’s turn. Always a daring athlete, he sped down the course. All looked to be going well until suddenly, he pulled off to the side and stopped skiing. Instantly, everyone figured he must’ve missed a gate. They expected him to do what all the others had done — just head on to the finish area outside the course and accept that you were out of the race.
But to everyone’s surprise, Miller started hiking back up to where he’d gone off course and continued on with the race, knowing full well that he was out of the competition. He simply wanted to finish. It was both admirable and inspiring to all those watching, and it proves a valuable lesson when it comes to how we finish in life.
Many people are too quick to throw in the towel and give up on their life-race when they fail or things get tough. It’s easier to simply walk away and accept your failure than to make yourself keep going, even if it seems pointless at the time. But when we look at Scripture, we are given an entirely different picture of how we’re supposed to view our race here on earth. Unlike the slalom race, Jesus doesn’t discount us from the race when we fail. He’s actually after our perseverance in the faith and wants us to finish well. He’s not concerned about how fast we get there or who we beat along the way. He’s more interested in us completing the race and keeping the faith (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
It’s expected that we’ll miss some gates along the way. We will likely fail — and badly, too. But don’t quit the race. Remember that real success in the Christian life means going back to the scene of our failure, accepting Christ’s gracious forgiveness, and getting back on the course again.
— Katherine Singer
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