I was pastoring in Eugene, Oregon, during the era when Mary Decker was a well-regarded world-class distance runner . She held numerous records and was an Olympic gold medalist . She sometimes trained and ran at events there in Eugene, at Hayward Field . She was favored to win gold at two distances in the L .A . Olympics in 1984 . There was a lot of interest in Eugene, for the “hometown girl.” Many recall the fall she took, and her injury, which dashed her hopes of winning gold for U .S .A . Zola Budd, the barefoot runner representing South Africa, had cut across and clipped the leading foot of Decker, who was not well accustomed to running in a pack of runners . After Decker fell she could not finish the race. She went from hurt to angry and bitter over it.
At another Olympic race, in 1992 at Barcelona, Spain, British runner Derek Redmond went down halfway through his race, with an injured hamstring. After several seconds down, he got back up and began to hobble along, in last place, but determined to finish. His father ran onto the track, over the officials objections, to catch his son as it appeared he was about to go down again . Together they crossed the finish line to a standing ovation.
This week, we enter into the last month of 2014 . May the Lord help us to finish well. If you’ve stumbled, get up and go on . In weariness or weakness, lean on the Lord. By the grace of God, we can finish well. “Be not weary in well-doing, for in due season ye shall reap, if ye faint not.”