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When do you feel His pleasure?



Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14


You may not know the name…

Eloise Wellings is an Olympian and champion Australian middle distance and now marathon runner. She told her mother when she was just 6, that she would run in the Olympics. You can only imagine how excited she was to be selected for the Australian team for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Yet her body would conspire against Eloise, and like other Olympics to follow, she had to drop out of the event due to an injury.


She was devastated, and it was clear to everyone, especially at the school she attended. One day a fellow student talked to Eloise to tell her that she was so concerned about how she must feel and that she would be praying for Eloise. This simple conversation resulted in Eloise going to church with her new friend and faith has been foundational for Eloise ever since.

...never underestimate the impact of showing love, offering prayer and extending an invitation. The outcome can be life changing, even eternity changing!


In spite of the challenges and disappoints, Eloise was recently quoted as saying:

“All of my disappointing results and disappointing injuries and heartbreak missing three Olympics, there was always this belief and faith that my identity is in Jesus and that’s my foundation. When you’ve got that, you can’t be shaken. Every time I get up to train, I just ask that he be glorified, that he give me the strength to do it, that he help give me the right thoughts to think – and not necessarily that I win but that he would be made known to people as I run.”


What Eloise is saying here reminds me of the classic movie Chariots of Fire, based on the 1924 Olympics and two prominent runners—Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams. Both were gifted and successful athletes who carried the hopes of their respective nations on their backs when they raced.

Eric Liddell was a devout Christian who represented Scotland…he was a missionary, and some believed he should give up the sport to preach, but Liddell believed that God had called him to race and to race for the glory of God.

Harold Abrahams ran for Great Britain…he loved his country as well as the sport and was obsessed with winning. He studied the sport, threw himself completely into it, and made running his overarching passion.


Both Liddell and Abrahams run, but they run for very different reasons.


In one scene Abrahams says, “And now in one hour’s time I will be out there again. I will raise my eyes and look down that corridor, 4 feet wide, with 10 lonely seconds to justify my whole existence. But will I?”

In a different scene Liddell says, “I believe God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”


Harold Abrahams was weary even when he rested, and Eric Liddell was rested even when he was exerting himself. Why? Because there’s a work underneath our work that we really need rest from. It’s the work of self-justification. Abrahams seeks satisfaction and joy in the race, and it always eludes him. Liddell finds satisfaction in Christ and experiences His joy as he runs.


Whether we’re running for a medal like Abrahams and Liddell, or we’re kept out of the race because of disappointments and setbacks like Eloise, I pray that we’ll know the true and unshakable source of our identity and satisfaction.


When do you most feel His pleasure?


Big love and grace,


James

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