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A few years ago, I heard a story about the Special Olympics in the State of Washington. The grandstand was packed full of people and 10 or 12 children were getting ready to run a race. Most of the children were severely mentally and/or physically handicapped. Few of them were listening to the instructions as they looked up into the crowd to wave at mom or dad or that special someone in their family. Each of them wanted to win the race and make somebody proud. They were excited!
After finally getting their children to line up on the starting line, they were told to run as soon as the gun went off.
“On your mark—get set—BOOM! The gun went off and everyone of them started running. Each of them was hoping to win. All of them were looking toward the finish line in hopeful anticipation of the outcome.
After running a short distance, one little boy tripped and fell down, skinning his knee. He sat down—hung his head and just cried. Who know what he was thinking. Maybe he was sad because his knee hurt. Maybe he was sad because he felt so alone. Maybe he was sad because he disappointed his dad—one more time.
As all the other children were running, each one of them looked over his or her shoulder at the little boy and one-by-one they all stopped and went back to the little boy that fell down. As they surrounded him, one little girl bent down and kissed him on the forehead and said, “It’s OK! It will be all right. Then a couple of the other children helped him up and they all joined hands and ran together across the finish line.
Needless to say the crowd went nuts! They stood up and cheered and yelled and whistled for those kids. I’ll bet the angels in heaven even yelled and whistled for those kids. I can picture our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ smiling, shaking his head and saying, “These kids get it! They understand what I have been trying to teach the world for years.”
No where in God’s word do we find it telling us we need to run the race alone. It doesn’t tell us we need to win at everyone else’s expense and it doesn’t tell us that once we fall down we are finished. God wants to see us all at the finish line. If life has tripped you up and you have fallen down, come and see me and I will help you get back on your feet. Then you and I and the other members in the race will all run across the finish line together. Who knows, maybe next month I might fall down, then you can help me get back up.
(Mark Weigel is the director of the new counseling program at First Love Community Church in Dry Ridge. You do not need to be a member of to participate in the counseling program there. To learn more, you can call Weigel at 859-663-0238.)