Wining in the Unseen Olympics
Welcome Back Readers~
You may recall that I sometimes have guests write posts for this blog; that way you are able to my disability from a different perspective than my own. For instance, a while back my dad shared the impact assistive technology has had on creating a sense of independence in my life;. This time, though, he shares a more personal side-comparing my struggles (and those of the disabled community) to that of the Olympics! I think you will find it a interesting comparison...
Without further ado..
For the past two weeks Debbie and I have watched a few Olympic events together, but none were as inspiring as the nights we watched swimmer Katie Ledecky win in an individual event, and then in a team event. She was beaming with a wonderful smile and was so happy to have won the gold medal. And, watching her, we were very happy for her, too. Her hard work, dedication to practice, and commitment to a goal were rewarded – in public, with the admiration of many watching around the world. These events are for the top competitors in the entire world, and at the point in time of those Olympic events, there was only one “best” in the world, and she was the gold medal winner. It must be intensely gratifying to receive the accolades on such an occasion!
As I thought about these exciting events, I thought about another unseen Olympic competition- on that also requires dedication, persistence, and endurance in the face of challenges on a daily basis. But there is no massive audience, no cheering and little recognition for the effort. This competition is not for the best physical athletes, but instead for those who are physically disabled.
I think of my daughter, Debbie, whose completion is with discouragement and despair. Her Olympic challenge is not for a week, but for a lifetime. The event she competes in is to live her life trusting in the love of a faithful Heavenly Father, even in the presence of her quadriplegic condition, enduring the physical and social trials of her life. I watch her complete and win on a daily basis.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians about the athletes of his day, who competed in biennial games near Corinth to win a wreath made of pine boughs. He asked them, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. (I Cor. 9:24-25)
The unseen Olympic events that Debbie and all believers compete in are the trials of life that test our faith in the unique circumstances of each of our lives. Debbie, in her own special way, faces sever physical limitations that render her immobile, and unable to freely use her hands to care for herself of enjoy eating a meal by herself. The other challenges of cerebral palsy are nagging inabilities, discomforts and pain. In spite of this, her daily contest is to trust her life into the hands of God’s grace. She seeks to “press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:24). That is, to glorify God by revealing Christ’s character in her life – a yielded spirit in the presence of a significant and very visible adversity in life.
We each face adversities in the circumstances of our life, and we do not compete in the special “Swim Lanes” where Debbie competes. But we each face the challenge to live for Christ and “press toward the goal”.
Yes, Debbie is a winner in the unseen Olympics in her own right – and the unseen audience is her Lord and Savior. She smiles, just like Katie Ledecky, as the Lord gives her his inner peace to know of His love.