Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Tuesday, January 14

“For we live by faith, not by sight.” — 2 Corinthians 5:7

Blind Faith

The world first learned of Steven Holcomb at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. He was a rising star headed into those Games and, because of the success he had already had in his sport of bobsledding at the international level, it looked like the United States would have a chance to win a medal in a sport that the Europeans had owned for decades. Holcomb would end up piloting his four-man bobsled team to a gold-medal victory, ending a 62-year drought for the U.S. in that event. 

But what the world later learned was that Holcomb almost never made it to those Olympics. In fact, he almost was forced to leave the sport of bobsledding altogether. Several years earlier, he had been diagnosed with a degenerative vision disease. He had continued to compete even as he could see less and less of the track on which he drove his sled. He had attempted a corrective surgery, which failed. So he ended up wearing contact lenses, which allowed him to see slightly better but still left him legally blind.

There came a point when there was nothing more that doctors could do to help him without putting his sporting career in jeopardy, so he decided to compete for as long as he could with the condition. The fact that he could rely so little on his eyesight taught him to drive by feel — to have faith in the sled and to sense the twists and turns of the track without being able to see them. Perhaps, he often said, this was part of his secret to good driving. 

We too are in a race, on a track that, despite all the preparation in the world, still has twists and turns we aren’t expecting. And we must adjust to accordingly. We have our share of crashes when life gets the better of us and knocks us temporarily out of the running. We do our best to learn from each run as we make it, hoping to improve our results for the Kingdom. But, for all the times we’ve raced before, each run is a bit different, causing us to rely on blind faith to get us across the finish line. 

Like Holcomb, we often compete in this race called life with impaired vision. The effects of sin and living in a fallen world have negatively impacted our ability to see with clarity where we should go. Even though God has granted us greater spiritual sight than before our conversion, we still struggle to run our race well, to lean into the turns of life and try to avoid crashing.

Just maybe this was what Paul had in mind when he said that we as believers are to “live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). We essentially need the “Holcomb approach” in order to live the Christian life well: learn to feel the track. Rely less on what we can see and more on how prior experience has taught us to move with life as it comes at us. To trust our training and our Heavenly Pilot to get us safely across the line. 

Katherine Singer

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