”Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until you hair is white with age. I make you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” — Isaiah 46:3-4
There’s something about the Olympics that’s just larger than life, and there are those images of past Olympic performances that we’ll never forget. One of those happened in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Derek Redmond was representing Great Britain in the 400-meter event. Unfortunately, he went down on the backstretch with a torn right hamstring.
The medical attendants started to approach him, but he managed to fight his way to his feet. Maybe you remember seeing this. He set out hopping around the track, desperately trying to finish the race.
When he reached the stretch, a large man in a T-shirt came out of the stands, and literally threw aside a security guard, and ran to the injured runner, and hugged him. It was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father. Derek was weeping and in excruciating pain, and his Dad said, “‘Derek, you don’t have to do this.” To which Derek said, “Yes, I do.” And Jim Redmond said, “OK then, we’re going to finish this together,” and they did.
They had to fight off security men … the son’s head was sometimes buried on his father’s shoulder … but they stayed in Derek’s lane all the way to the end – as the crowd stood and cheered and even wept.
The other day, I got one of those phone calls that make you feel like you’ve been kicked in the stomach. A heard the news of a good friend whose husband had died from a bout with cancer. His wife asked me to speak at the funeral where, by the grace of God, one of her husband’s friends gave his heart to Christ.
Five minutes before my friend called, I’d been reading in Isaiah 46. In light of the devastating blow that had just hit that family, I had to share Isaiah 46:3, 4 with my friend. Through all the pain of the funeral and its aftermath, I watched this Heavenly Father come down to the place where my friends were in so much pain, and keep His promise to sustain them.
It may be that right now you’re struggling to finish. You were running OK, but now you’re hurting, you’re limping, you’re wounded. Maybe you’re disillusioned. You’re burning out, you’re wearing out, and you feel like dropping out. You look down the track at the ground you’ve still got to cover, and you wonder if you can possibly make it feeling like this. It hurts so bad, you’re so depleted; it’s tempting to give up your calling, or your marriage, or your commitment, your loved one, your dream.
Someone very strong has left the stands to join you on the field. He’s your Heavenly Father who loves you passionately and unconditionally. His arm is around you. God the Father is hugging His wounded child. After all, He did say, He is a “very present help in time of trouble” (Psalm 46:1). He knows you can’t finish this race alone. Listen to Him as He says, “My child, we’re going to finish this together.”
You literally may not have the strength or the spirit to even walk another step. Well, that’s why His promise is so precious, “I have made you and I will carry you.” When a child can walk no further, he says, “Daddy, carry me.” That’s what God is waiting for you to say. That worn-out child can go farther and faster in his father’s arms than he could ever go on his own feet. So can you – in your Heavenly Father’s arms.
You can finish the race you started – not with your resources, but because your Almighty Father is saying, “We’re going to finish this together!”
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