Faster, Higher, Stronger, Together

Well, you can’t be alive and not know that the Olympics have been on.

News about the highs and lows, successes and failures, medals, times and achievements are everywhere.  Expectations are great, especially after having to wait an extra 12 months for these games. An advantage of them being held in Tokyo is the time difference is not far off our own so we do not have the traditional curse of bleary-eyed and tired people who have stayed up half the night, or woken up super early to watch events.  My 13 year old son is fast becoming an expert on all things Olympic as he watches events and soaks up the constant barrage of trivia that the commentators insist on supplying.

There is something about the phenomenon of watching an underdog nation do the impossible on the international stage.  At the Rio Olympics I was blessed as I watched the Fijian nation playing in the final for their first Olympic medal ever!  They won gold in the Men’s Rugby 7’s match and the emotion on their faces was overwhelming.  At the conclusion of the match we saw them called to prayer by their team captain and they sang a song attributing their win to God’s power in their lives. 

They were able to back that achievement up with another gold medal this Olympics and the song ‘we will overcome’ was sung with such heart and passion and with added meaning as their home country continues to battle the Covid-19 outbreak.

For these Olympics the governing body have chosen to add an extra word to the motto. Faster, Higher, Stronger is what has been used in the past since it was heard in an 1881 school sports event. This year, and for obvious reasons, the word ‘Together’ has been added to indicate the solidarity that we, as an international community, need in these difficult times.

At the conclusion of the first 2 weeks of competition we see something even more amazing, that being the Paralympics. These athletes are so inspirational when we consider the added obstacles they have overcome to accomplish the physical achievements they do. It is difficult for me to watch these events and not be moved to tears.

Whenever I see major sporting events such as this I can’t help but wonder about the journey that has brought each athlete to this very point.  No one can do it in isolation. Together is very much what is required.

What about all those that helped them on their way?  Parents, coaches, team-mates that encouraged, cajoled and advised.  I am reminded of a lovely verse in the Bible written to people of faith who were facing tough times.  It can be found in the book of Hebrews, chapter 12 and verse 1.  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”

Life, sometimes, is like a sport.  We can often feel like we are under pressure to perform, to win at every turn.  I don’t know about you, but in the sport of parenting I am not convinced I deserve a medal!  I am reminded, however, of how much easier life is when I feel like I have a ‘cloud of witnesses’ cheering in my corner.  That gives me what I need to persevere and improve on past performance.

When times are tough I will try to remember to keep my eyes and ears out for those people in my own life, and I will also take up the opportunity to be part of another’s ‘cloud of witnesses’ too, cheering them on in their race to the prize.

Inspired by all Olympic athletes I will aim faster, higher, stronger, together in my own life, and keep an eye out for others I can help achieve this in their lives.

I hope you will do so too … and in the mean time … “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!”

Be blessed.

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