My ‘friend’ was having a particularly rough time. He’d given up on much of what had been his life. He’d let people down, and felt badly beaten up by it all. There were many thoughts of running away, disappearing, even for good. Yet those closest to my ‘friend’ convinced him life was worth living..not to give up. They dragged him to a church. He went reluctantly.
The speaker that day was an american preacher, a bronzed adonis, wearing trendy clothes, pointy shoes (like proper trendy people do) and he spoke with enthusiasm. This glitzy American told a story of a moment in his life when in a swimming gala many years before he had been expected to win, for himself and his team. He was brilliant at the butterfly…(and showed off his muscles to a whooping throng of young female listeners). For some inexplicable reason he dived in and swam breastroke in the butterfly race and though he realised after a few seconds, the damage was done, he won the race but was disqualified.
He couldn’t believe it. He’d let himself and everyone down. So disappointed he went and sat in the baby pool, and sunk his head under the water, holding his breath for as long as he could, every now and then taking a deep breath and submerging again. Angry, disappointed in his failure he stayed there for some time.
Whilst he lay there, lamenting his failure, he couldn’t hear his name being called by the organisers. Time after time they called. He never heard his name being called.
Eventually, the team coach found him, dragged him out of the water and told him, “You have another race to swim.” He stood on the blocks, the gun sounded and he dived in. He won the race.
My ‘friend’ listened intently. He could hear God’s voice speaking into his life for perhaps the first time in many many months. “God has another race for you to swim”.
He left that church service knowing he could no longer bury his head with the shame he felt, but lift it up and listen to what God was saying.
Don’t give up. Even when you’ve failed. God has another race, just for you.