Skating the Skate, Running the Race
This post is about figure skating, the skater, and the results. The next post will be about the grandstand participants. So, this is part 1 of 2.
This has been the week of U.S. Figure Skating Championships. The two top winners in each category represent the United States in the World Championships. Of course, it is an honor to represent one’s county and I suppose the earnings are not exactly shabby either. Since I am the last one to be considered an athlete, I stand in awe of these who can jump high enough in the air to slam dunk a basketball, or stop a homerun ball from going over the wall; yet, they land on a sliver of a blade aligned along the bottom center of a boot.
Jeremy Abbot skated not only in competition for a first place, but also for the first place in this competition, four consecutive times. His skate, as it is called, was nearly flawless. Nearly. His interpretation of the beautiful music from Les Miserable was breathtaking. His competitors did not seem nearly as passionate in artistry as Abbot. Yet, Abbot fell from first place going into the free skate to third place. He fell on an attempted quad jump, and popped out of a triple jump.
Scott Hamilton, one of only five men who have won the event four times, said “He has it in him; he can do this. . .” to which his fellow commentator said, “He has it in him, but not tonight.”
I say all of that to say this: I am running a race; you are running a race. It is called the race of life. If you are a believing Christian who has determined to live life the best you can for God and God’s cause, you are running a very important race. Whether you know it or not, you have a grandstand of spectators. Paul, the Apostle said, “Know that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize, so run that ye may obtain.” We run it for an incorruptible crown.
When a Christian who has given testimony to his faith falls, it becomes a disappointment to more people than that contender can possibly know. An off-color joke, questionable music floats out an open window, or another man/woman around whom you act inappropriately are equaled to that failed jump in the ice rink. One time. One fall. Satan wins. You lose.
Will Abbot hang up his skates and quit? Of course not. When we fail, should we quit? Of course not. You have it in you, as Hamilton said, so go out everyday and run the race. If you fail, it seems as if God always provides someone to help you limp to the finish line. Please don’t “hang up the skates.”