A Special Olympics First

March 31, 2008
by Michelle Bekkering

Matthew 19:26 – Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (NIV)

Some stories stick with us forever. During my first year at university, a Religious Studies professor shared one with our class, and it has stuck with me ever since.

The story takes place during a Special Olympics track meet. From the stands, my professor watched as a young man crossed the finish line first. Abandoning all inhibitions, the exuberant winner jumped with joy at his win. He grinned from ear to ear and repeatedly yelled, "Mom! Mom! Mom!" Sitting in front of my professor was a woman whose obvious delight and unrestrained tears made it clear that she was the winner's mother. Puzzled by the intensity of her emotions, he nonetheless leaned over to congratulate the woman. He, too, was moved to tears by what she said. Asking to be excused for her outburst, she explained that she was crying so hard because this was the first time her adult son had ever spoken her name: "Mom".

Although not necessarily a "Christian" story, I think most Christians would see God's hand at work in this miracle.

Our congregation is preparing to build a new church. The land is purchased, the ground levelled, and our capital campaign, named "Faith for the Future", is underway. When I feel the enemy of doubt creeping in, questioning our ability to complete the mission, I remember stories like this Special Olympics miracle. It reminds me that I worship an all-powerful God — a God Who uses everything, even secular things (like the Special Olympics), to work miracles. God's answers to prayers are sometimes found where least expected. Consequently, our duty is to be to open to recognizing the unexpected ways in which He works.

The story also reminds me that we can do only so much. Like the mother, our job is to get to the game. Sometimes, after doing all we can, we are relegated to the position of spectator. It is then that we must trust God to accomplish what we cannot. This does not mean that the path is easy. But when we lean on God, great things are possible — including building a new church.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for all that You do for us. Thank You for Your steadfast love. We have strength and hope for the future in knowing that You are there to do what we cannot accomplish on our own. Amen.

About the author:

Michelle Bekkering <mbekkering@gmail.com>
Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

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