Derek Redmond, Great Britain’s best runner in the Men’s 400 Meter held the National record going into the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Derek’s life goal was to win a Gold Medal in these games. The day came for the semi-finals in the 400 meters and Derek knew this would be the race of his life. Up against the world’s best runners, he knew that he had to do his best.
When the gun sounded Derek got off to a great start. Then tragically, the right hamstring tore in his leg, sending him tumbling to the track surface before a packed stadium and a worldwide audience watching on television. Paramedics rushed to assist him as he lay writhing in pain on the ground. For most runners the race would have ended there. But not for Derek Redmond. In agony, Derek struggled to his feet and immediately felt the pain of the torn muscle surge through his body. Then, unexpectedly, he began hopping crazily toward the finish line. As the paramedics approached him, he waved them off, grimacing in tears. The stunned crowd could not believe what they were seeing.
Then the drama took a new twist.
A man in a cap and t-shirt bound out of the stands. Security guards tried to stop him, but the large man flung them out of his way. He went straight for Derek. Approaching his son, Jim Redmond put his arm around the hopping runner and said, “Son, you don’t have to do this!” “Yes, I do, Dad,” Derek replied, fighting through the tears and agony. “Then we’ll finish this thing together,” the father said. And that’s what the two men did. “Keep me in Lane 5!” Derek shouted, as the crowd rose to its feet. Derek’s father did just that. With Derek’s head buried in his father’s shoulder, the two men made it to the finish line. The audience cheered and cried as they gave them a standing ovation.
Derek didn’t win an Olympic Gold Medal, but he came away with something more valuable. Life often throws pain at us. Derek Redmond had two things working for him that day: the desire to run the complete race, and a father whose love for his son surpassed any obstacle in his way.
When life knocks you down, what keeps you going? Who believes in you enough to rush to your side in front of the throngs of onlookers? No matter how bad things appear we still love someone finishing the race. Too often we surrender to life’s circumstances and quit.
This is such a powerful story:
It shows that we can’t do things on our own… NO MAN IS AN ISLAND. We were created to exist in community. And especially when things go bad, we need a wide support system to fall on.
It shows the strength of the love and commitment of a parent (a loving Father).
It shows the power of a “we’ll finish this thing together” attitude.
WE ARE A LOT LIKE DEREK.
Hurts, trials, trying to do things on our own.
When life knocks you down, what keeps you going? Who believes in you enough to rush to your side in front of the throngs of onlookers?
God is more concerned about our spiritual growth as a follower than He is about our comfort.
Our Personal Story: 1 Year of Testing
· Hurtful situation – physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually devastating.
· If this is what my calling in life is going to be like, then take me now!
· No end in sight. It’s too painful, the whole world (literally) was upside down – I questioned everything I thought I knew was true…even about God.
· Depressed: no job, sick of sitting on the couch watching TV and too sick to do anything about it. Self-defeating cycle.
· Then someone cared enough to intervene. My Grandma. God will use whatever means to get our attention and to deliver His message. In my life, God has used people in powerful ways.
§ Grandma – got me off the couch
§ Pastor Darrell – helped me through the healing process by mentoring me
§ Norm – I said, “God give me your word.” Norm came up to us and gave us God’s word
· Despite our situation, we NEVER lost faith in God.
§ We ALWAYS believed God would provide and bring us through this.
§ We had lots of questions for God and we made sure he knew how we felt about this situation
§ We kept aiming and believing for God’s Plan A…we were not going to settle for a Plan B or go ahead and devise our own plan…we were committed to wait on God.
§ As we waited and wrestled, we prayed, we got into scripture, we served in volunteer ministry, and we kept looking for God in every situation.
· Faithfulness means not losing Faith that God is in control of your situation.
§ Believing that God will bring you through
§ Knowing that God is more than enough to supply your needs
What do I do while I am NOT going through any difficult times?
3 Things: Pray Up, Read Up, Look Up
1. PRAY UP: Prayer. Prayerful Life – It’s more than something we do, it’s a way of living.
a. Eph. 6:18 – And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
2. READ UP: Get into the Word. Read the Bible, read about the Bible – Discipline yourself to grow.
a. “Blessings of Brokenness” by Charles Stanley
b. Discover God’s Promises – memorize them for when you need them:
i. MATT 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
ii. 1 PET 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
iii. HEB 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” 6 So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”
iv. 1JN 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.
v. 1 Cor. 10:13 –You have been put to no test but such as is common to man: and God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test a way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it. (BBE)
3. LOOK UP: Look Out. Look for people to help, come alongside with, pray for, talk to, etc.
i. Practice the discipline of reaching out!
§ Multiple lessons from this chapter…
§ Set the Scene: Israelites had many hurdles to cross. Wandering in the desert. Manna.
§ Everyone is upset: People upset with God – they want something other than what God is providing. They are upset with Moses’ leadership.
o Moses is upset with the people because they are faithless and complaining.
o God is upset with the people.
§11:10-17 – Verse by Verse
§ God wants us to turn our pains and hurts over to him…to Trust Him.
§ We are made in God’s image. This means we have some of God’s characteristics inside us, and this empowers us to come alongside others during grief and testing.
§ God hurts when we hurt. He is the Perfect Parent.
§ Like Peter when walking out on the water. As soon as he started to sink, Jesus reached out and picked him up.
§ Bearing each other’s burdens means responsibility. This is something God EXPECTS out of His believers.
Play DVD: “Team Hoyt” – The Power of what can result when we carry each other’s burdens. What happens when we are faithful in persevering during adversity. God can change any situation and make it beautiful.
God wants us to FLY in His grace and mercy today (like in the movie).
Love One Another Story
§ 3 Things:
o If you are going through difficulty: Trust in God. Have faith and do your part to stay in tune with God.
o If you are NOT going through trials: Build up your faith. You need to have God strong in your life so you can be ready for WHEN you are tested.
o Love One Another! We are to share in the responsibility of burden bearing.