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Monday, June 1, 2020

By His Side

By David A. Sargent

     It was the summer Olympics of 1992. It was the quarter finals of the 400 meter sprint. British athlete Derek Redmond was one of the favorites for the gold medal. A lifetime of training had brought him to this moment. The starter’s gun fired and the athletes burst out of the blocks.
     Halfway through the race Derek Redmond was leading. Then disaster struck. His hamstring muscle tore and he collapsed on the track. The agony on his tear-streaked face was both physical and mental. It was a crushing blow.
     Medical attendants ran to assist him. Derek waved them away. He came to race and he was going to finish. He got to his feet and started hobbling down the track.
     The crowd was mesmerized. Officials didn’t know what to do. And then an older man ran onto the track. He brushed off officials who tried to stop him. He ran up beside Derek and placed his arms around him.
     The man was Derek Redmond’s father, Jim.
     “You don’t have to do this son,” Jim said.
     “Yes I do!” Derek replied.
     “Then we’ll finish this race together,” came the response from Derek’s father.
     Arm in arm, with agony on Derek’s face, tears on his father’s, Derek and Jim continued down the track. Derek buried his face in his father’s shoulder. His father’s strong shoulders carried his son physically and emotionally. Jim waved away officials who tried to stop them.
     Finally, accompanied by a now roaring crowd, standing on their feet and applauding, Derek Redmond crossed the line. It became the defining moment of the Barcelona Olympics.
     Derek Redmond didn’t win an Olympic medal but he finished the race with his Dad by his side. *
     Derek Redmond’s injury in that 400-meter race pictures our condition due to our sin: because of our wrong choices, we’ve failed and fallen on the track, unable to finish – unless we have help.
     God saw our condition and came to our rescue. By the merits of Jesus’ atoning death on the cross for our sins (1 John 2:2; 4:10), God “picks us up off the track” by forgiving us of our sins and will carry us across the finish line to victory, if we’ll continue to cling to Him through our trusting obedience.
     We can share in Christ’s victory over sin and death if we will accept God’s offer of salvation and eternal life on His terms. God will save and give eternal life to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus (Acts 16:30-31), turn from their sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confess Jesus before men (Romans 10:9-10), and are baptized (immersed) into Christ for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). Then, as we seek to follow Him faithfully, the blood that Jesus shed for our redemption will continue to cleanse us from that disqualifying sin (1 John 1:7).
     And one day, we’ll cross the “finish line” ONLY because of what Jesus has done for us, and we will receive the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
    Won’t YOU cling to the Savior through your trusting obedience?  He will carry you to the finish line, victoriously.

- David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled "Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website: http://www.creekwoodcc.org

* Slightly adapted from “Derek Redmond Finishes at the Olympics” at
/www.storiesforpreaching.com


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