I pointed up to the sky knowing that there was no way I could have done that in my own strength.
The Summer Olympics often remind me about my days competing in Track and field. From Barton high school in Hamilton Ontario, to Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego California, I learned a lot in those days.
My favorite part of the Track & Field experience was always the team. I found it interesting how people would tell me that they preferred team sports, as I tried to recruit them. I actually enjoyed the smaller track meets over the Olympic trials and National Championships because more of my team was there.
During my second year at Point Loma I injured myself during a practice. I couldn’t continue but I thought I would be back the next day. This was not the case. Week after week went by and I wasn’t able to practice or compete.
I watched the team from the training room as I received treatment. This was a very difficult time for me. It was a beautiful view but I longed to be back with the team. I did everything that the athletic trainers told me. From ice, to stretching, from ultrasound to chiropractor nothing seemed to work.
Outside of school and track I spent a lot of time praying with friends. During that time I was learning a very valuable lesson that I shared with my coach in his office one day. I was learning to simply ask help. I was learning to ask for prayer if I needed prayer. My coach said,”why don’t you ask the team to pray for you?”
It was Friday afternoon and the team was lounging on the high jump pit as they awaited the start of our weekly devotional. That’s when I asked to be prayed for.
I didn’t feel anything special or significant until I jogged. I could jog very slowly before but this time I could actually run at about 60% effort. I was way too scared to run any faster than that but… I decided that I was going to compete the next day at a our next track meet.
“You are crazy,” is what Ivan, my teammate, said to me the next day as I was getting ready to warm up. It had been a month without training. My main race, which happens to be my first race back, was 400 meter hurdles… and that’s not all. The injury that I had been suffering from was either a strain or torn groin muscle. For a month it was tight and felt like it was tearing like paper when I jogged. Now I am not only going to race but I am going to race over hurdles.
I couldn’t bring myself to warm up at full speed. I was desperate but very concerned about my leg. The gun sounded and I took off running and a very conservative pace on the inside lane. Halfway through the race I realized that I felt really good and the rest of the pack wasn’t very far ahead of me. I picked up the pace around the bend and picked off a few competitors. With the home stretch to go I only had 2 guys ahead of me. I passed one and cleared the second to last hurdle. My legs turned into jello.
Of coarse my legs turned into jello. I was clearly over achieving at this point. It was good just being back. One more hurdle to go. I cleared it and as I landed on the other side, my legs came back. The strength was restored in them. I passed the guy who was in the lead and ran through the line in first place. I pointed up to the sky knowing that there was know way I could have done that in my own strength. I walked over to the fence and threw up. My body had just done something spectacular.
I ran not only fast enough to win, I ran my seasons best at about 54 seconds. How could I be even faster than before?
My team hadn’t run the 4×400 meter race since I got hurt. I kind of think that they enjoyed the time off. That night we ran it, and won. A week later we broke the school record.
Team work can unfold in many different ways. God used my team to pray for me and that is when the healing came. Sometimes it can be as simple as just asking for prayer.
Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
James 5:13-16 ESV