Derek Redmond was prepared for the 400-meter semifinal race at the Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, in 1992. He felt he was in the best shape of his life. Despite eight operations on his Achilles tendons over the past 4 years, he felt very confident. His father, Jim, sitting in the stands, also had high hopes for Derek. Jim and his son were very close, and he made it to all of the championship races.
Derek got off to a good start in the race. However, coming around the corner of the first bend, tragedy struck. Derek’s hamstring snapped. Initially, he thought he had been shot because the pain was so intense. His leg wouldn’t function. His race was ruined.
London’s The Guardian newspaper quoted him, “Everything I had worked for was finished. I hated everybody. I hated the world. I hated hamstrings. I hated it all. I felt so bitter that I was injured again. I told myself I had to finish. I kept hopping around. Then, with 100-meters to go, I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my old man.”
Derek hopped on one leg for half a lap before his father came to his aid. Together they finished the race arm-in-arm to a standing ovation. Now, some 30 years after the race, not many people remember who won the semi-final race or who even won the final. But many still remember Derek Redmond and his father’s love.
In the struggles and crises of life, we know that God is by our side, and we persevere to the end as Romans 8:37-39 says, “37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
This Sunday, we’ll be closing out Romans 8 with a look at how much God loves us and has provided a way for us to be victorious.
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