The Olympic Trials.
Like much of the rest of the world, my evenings over the past two weeks have been spent watching the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Of course I’ve been participating from the comfort of my couch, but that’s a whole other issue.
Beside the actual competitions and events, we’ve all been gripped by the behind-the-scenes stories of perseverance and struggle and tenacity. And those stories provide so many illustrations about life. But for some reason, a single word made me stop and think.
I kept hearing about the “gymnastics trials”and the “swimming trials” and the “diving trials”, referencing, of course, the preliminary competitions that got the athletes to where they are today. In London. At THE OLYMPICS.
And I realized that the athletes have an understanding about trials that we don’t. They understand that doing well in the preliminary trials moves them closer to the big prize. They look forward to the trials because that’s where their strength and their ability is proven.
They train for those trials.
Sometimes we can feel like we are in Olympic-sized trials. But how much differently would the outcome be if we viewed them like the athletes? What if we viewed them as necessary to prove the strength and ability we are given from God? What if, instead of dreading them and whining about them and doing everything we could to avoid them, we embraced them? What if we trained for them?
What if we saw our trials as the things that move us closer to the prize?
I’ll never be standing on an Olympic platform with a medal around my neck. But there will be a crown. So I’m going to do all I can to win in these trials.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12 NIV)
I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:14 NLT)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work in you, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. (James 1:2-4)
As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy. (James 5:11)