Posts Tagged ‘downhill skiing’

One would think I might have had enough of watching sport on TV in recent days. It began with the Ashes cricket tour, followed by the one day matches, with the twenty-twenty ‘Big Bashes’ mixed in as well. The Australian Open tennis complicated things, forcing me to choose between channels at times. But then, just when it all seemed to be over, along comes the Winter Olympics! Yes, I think to myself, I still have the excuse of recovering from a recent back operation. I can watch some parts of it at least. Should be fun, right?

I gasp, as I see athletes squeezing themselves into tiny capsules before hurtling down an icy course to what seems like certain disaster. I watch horrified, as young men and women balance their snowboard on the knife edge of a huge pipe, then plummet down, only to bob up on the other side to perform amazing tricks. I hold my breath, as skiers try to outdo one another via sliding down a metal bar before skiing backwards into one impossible jump after another. I cringe as other skiers fling themselves down a mountain at breakneck speed or alternately hurtle into the air before hopefully landing upright again.

But my biggest heart-in-mouth experience occurs when those figure skaters take to the ice. They all look stunning. They all appear confident. But then I watch as they attempt a triple this or a quadruple that, spinning high and fast in the air. I gasp as some stumble and crash hard on the ice or manage somehow to steady themselves and I will them to keep going. Yet even if their performance looks excellent to me, the commentators almost always seem to find some fault with it. They did only three twists instead of four, I hear them say. They did not complete a particular element. They did not move their feet cleanly. They over-rotated. Their routine was too simple. Their routine was too complex and frenetic. They did not take the music into account or connect with the audience. Even if the skaters don’t stumble and fall, every little mistake is picked up by those judges and commentators. But to me, they have all given their absolute best. They have shown us the results of months and years of hard work, commitment and training.

As I watch, one overriding thought comes to me. I’m so glad I don’t have to perform like that for God. I’m so glad God doesn’t have some complex marking system where he deducts points for this mistake and for that. I’m so glad God doesn’t exclude me from going further in the competition because of this fall or that. I’m so glad life isn’t a competition at all, where God is concerned. I’m so glad, when I fail, that God picks me up, forgives me and strengthens me to do better. I’m so glad, in the end, because of Jesus, it’s all about grace.

Aren’t you?

Because of his great love, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ … it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ … in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus Eph 2:4-7


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