by Jack Voss
Derek Redmond, a twenty-six-year-old Briton, was favored to win the four-hundred-meter race in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Halfway into his semifinal heat, a fiery pain seared through his right leg. He crumpled to the track with a torn hamstring. As the medical attendants were approaching, Redmond fought to his feet. “It was animal instinct,” he would later say. He set out hopping, pushing away the coaches in a crazed attempt to finish the race.
When he reached the stretch, a big man pushed through the crowd. He
was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Have you hugged your child today?” and a hat that challenged, “Just Do It.” The man was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father.
“You don’t have to do this,” he told his weeping son.
“Yes, I do,” Derek declared.
“Well, then,” said Jim, “we’re going to finish this together.”
So they did. Jim wrapped Derek’s arm around his shoulder and helped him hobble to the finish line. With the son’s head buried in the father’s shoulder and fighting off security men, they stayed in Derek’s lane to the end.
The crowd clapped, stood, cheered, and then wept as the father and son finished the race.
What made the father do it? What made the father leave the stands to meet his son on the track? Was it the strength of his child? No, it was the pain of his child. His son was hurt and fighting to complete the race. So the father came to help him finish.
This true story reminds me of our Heavenly Father! He has never intended for us to run the race of life alone. It is a race that at times confronts us with pain, hurts, disappointments, wounds, failures, temptation and sin. In fact, we have been given a promise by our Heavenly Father “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
As the Comforter, He is the one who walks alongside of us. He, as Jim Redmond, feels the pain of His children and will not sit idly by leaving them on the track of life to frantically, desperately, and feebly seek to stumble to the finish line. Rather, He as the Comforter will offer His arm to lean on and His strength to sustain His children.
If you have been knocked down in the race of life, struggle to your feet as Derek Redmond. Look to the stands-help is on the way! Your Heavenly Father will sustain you and give strength to finish this race.