Paralympians Excel with Optimism and So Can We
The fortnight of Olympic competition reaches the halfway point this weekend, but the real heroes will take center stage next month when the Paralympic Games are held in Beijing.
These athletes may not receive the same attention or acclaim as those currently competing, but a strong case could be made that they should. Paralympians have a limiting factor of one sort or another that prevents them from competing in the Olympic Games, but no one would dare call them disabled because these athletes don’t
consider themselves less capable than anyone else. Their stories and their performances are particularly inspiring because of the great desire, uncommon stamina,
unyielding fortitude, and exceptional effort they have shown, as well as the many obstacles they have had to overcome.
Adversity is a part of life for all of us. Some have daunting obstacles to overcome, while others must deal with less extreme challenges. Regardless of the size or scope of one’s hurdles, our foundation in faith can be a vital asset in all circumstances.
Scripture has a number of passages that offer encouragement and assurance. Most deal with spiritual distress or persecution, but the wisdom of God’s word can also be applied to other phases of life.
One of the most familiar and comforting excerpts comes from Psalm 46:1, which reminds us that “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in times of
trouble.” This short but powerful phrase assures us that God gives us both shelter and
strength, and that he is always with us, especially when we struggle.
Proverbs 3:5-6 provides perspective with these familiar words: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” This passage grounds us and fortifies our faith, making us better equipped to deal with life’s setbacks and disappointments.
The Book of James (1:12) sheds light on the spiritual benefits of endurance with this insight: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” There is indeed a great benefit to standing tall in times of trouble. Many people choose to give up when things get tough, but those who stand strong not only survive, but ultimately thrive.
So when we face troubled times, we can turn to Scripture and be lifted up. In II Thessalonians (3:3) we read that “The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect
you from the evil one.” Philippians 4:13 offers additional inspiration to the Paralympians
and all the rest of us as well with the assurance that we “can do all things though him who gives us strength.”
While it is quite common to be discouraged by life’s disappointments, we should never allow them to defeat us. Instead, let us rest on our faith and stand tall in the face of adversity because, as we know, through God all things are possible.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John