When asked what I got out of the Olympic Trials, I wrestled with so many ideas for hours. Much like the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with an angel of God and having his hip broken just to be blessed, I definitely frustratingly broke a few mental pencils during the brainstorming process. No matter how many different directions I thought to take the question’s answer, they all shared the same core. It’s always about the journey.
Coming into the track meet I hadn’t had the best season. It was looking like an uphill battle to make the Olympic team, but I knew my God could turn the situation around. I prayed fervently about the outcome of the race, asking God to not only help me make my second Olympic team, but to help me win the race outright. I trained as hard as I could; I fasted; I prayed. I did all the things in my power to control the outcome of the hurdle race. The problem was that I kept asking God for what I wanted, but I never paused to ask what He wanted of ME.
I got fifth place in the finals, two spots away from an Olympic berth. Had I not worked hard enough? Had I not prayed hard enough? Was I not faithful enough?
While in private prayer time, I recalled a Scripture that best summed up the purpose of my Olympic Trials experience. 1 Peter 1:7 states,
“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold — though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” (NLT)
Three simple words: Trials build faith. They can be family, personal, career or even Olympic trials, but they are all presented to build Christ-like character and deepen our relationships with Him. Our responses and attitudes toward trials are far more important to God than one race, one job promotion, one simple victory. The final goal is to have God say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Trials shape us into good servants, and that’s truly what He wants of us all.
God didn’t give me anything I asked for in prayer, but He gave me everything I needed.
God didn’t give me anything I asked for in prayer, but He gave me everything I needed. I needed to know that my journey at the Olympic Trials was to share my faith with others and to see how peaceful it is to put my trust in Him and how content I can be in suffering for a bigger purpose. To put it plain and simple, I needed to learn that victory belongs to Jesus!
“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” I wouldn’t change a single moment of my Olympic Trials experience because through it I’ve realized how much God truly loves me. I’m learning to let go of the reigns and enjoy the true freedom of trusting in Him. At the end of the day, I don’t know what my future holds, but what I do know is that God holds me lovingly in the palm of His hand.
Copyright © 2016 Struggle and Triumph