Your daily Olympic devotional
A snippet from a new sports devotional, The Spirit of Victory. Available through your favourite bookstore.
The upside of down days - James 1:2-4
Kim Brennan was a young athlete with plenty of potential and a dream to compete in the Olympic Games. Leading up to the 2004 Olympics she was the second-fastest hurdler over 400 meters in Australia. Tragically, Brennan’s Olympic campaign was ended by injury. Because Brennan couldn’t run she kept fit by using a rowing machine. A rowing coach thought her technique was solid. Eventually, she was persuaded to try out rowing on the water.
After just 3 years of rowing, Brennan went to the 2008 Olympic games. She returned to the Olympics in 2012 winning a bronze and a silver medal. In 2016 she won a gold medal at the Rio Olympics and carried the flag for Australia at the closing ceremony.
Kim Brennan would have been devastated when her injuries ended her hurdling career but I wonder if she’s grateful that her adversity guided her towards rowing.
James chapter 1 encourages believers to see the upside of down days. He says that a trial is an opportunity for pure joy. Most people are happy when their trials are over; James wants believers to be joyful when they begin! Instead of throwing a pity party when times are tough, James wants you to throw an actual party and rejoice because your trials are going to achieve something good.
James says trials produce perseverance; difficult times force you to rely on God’s strength instead of your own. Trials tend to make people less self-reliant and more God-reliant.
As God helps you face each trial; remember His faithfulness. Next time you face a difficult test you’ll remember that God was faithful to you in the last challenge. This will give you confidence as you face challenges in the future.
Travis Barnes lives in central Victoria with his wife and two daughters. He is a contributor for Christian Today and a sportswriter.