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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Wednesday, April 22

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” — 2 Corinthians 10:12

Stay on Your Feet

Short-track speed skating is a sport where chaos reigns supreme. A group of 5-6 competitors skate around a short loop (usually set up with small blocks in the center of a larger ice rink) for a set number of laps that equal a certain distance. The first skater with the toe of their skate across the line wins.

Given the tight turns around the loop and a limited number of laps to make a move in order to assure yourself a top finish, there is much pushing and bumping during the race. Often, multiple skaters can be taken out of the race at a time from one small tap by another skater attempting to pass or make a move. It is not uncommon for skaters to lose their balance and go slamming into the padded walls of the ice rink — and be out of contention by the time they even can get back up.

The sport is crazy, and the ones who usually win are the ones who simply stay on their feet. Because of this, even somebody in the back who appears to be out of contention can sometimes become the winner if everyone else gets taken out.

At one Winter Olympics many years ago, the wildness of the sport was on full display as the final lap unfolded. There was much jostling going on for position and, on the last turn toward the finish line, a skater took out most of the group. Bodies went flying into the sideboards, and one skater even cut his leg with his own skate. An Australian who had been in last place for the entire race avoided the crash and skated across the line first! For the gold medal! Other skaters tried to get up and get their skates across the line to claim the other medals. The shock on the Aussie’s face was evident. He never guessed he’d be the winner. All he did was stay on his feet.

Life is much like short-track speed skating. We have a limited time here on earth to make our impact and finish our race well. We may feel pressure along the way to make moves or pass others in order to ensure we get to the finish line first. But sometimes, being ahead doesn’t always ensure success. Some who might appear to be in front of us may falter and crash, leaving us to glide across the line as did the Aussie. Being in the back of the pack isn’t always a bad thing.

We will all struggle along the way and have our share of crashes but, at the end of it all, Jesus is more concerned with how we handled the chaos, kept our balance and stayed steady in our walk with Him than if we got across the line ahead of somebody else. So “skate” a clean race to the best of your ability. God just cares that you finish with your faith intact.

— Katherine Singer

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