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by Lou Seckler
But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved. (Hebrews 10:39 NRSV)
Last Saturday was the 2003 Womens Singles Finals at Wimbledon. Venus Williams was hampered by a pulled abdominal muscle that started flaring up in the second set.
When the match was finally over, the victorious Serena Williams was asked by an ESPN interviewer, what went through your mind as you saw [sister and opponent] Venus in pain during the match? To that Serena simply replied: I decided I would fight to the end. And, by staying focused even during such a painful trial, Serena came away with tennis most coveted title for the second consecutive year. (For perspective on the match, see articles on the match itself and on Serenas tribute to her sister to the match.)
A lot of times it is quite easy and enjoyable to be a Christian. We like talking about what our Lord means to us. Reading devotional books and Christian Web sites (like this one) is fun and gives us a convenient source of spiritual food. I look forward during my daily Bible reading to finding that little morsel that feeds me for a day or two. On a regular day.
But it is very different when crisis hits us. Or worse yet, crises sometimes coming from many directions at once. An unexpected illness, a lawsuit, an unwanted pregnancy, the death of a loved one, a lost job... Crises cause us to feel like our faith isnt strong enough; we dont know how well withstand the monster of discouragement and keep it at bay. Then the temptation is to give up.
An illustration: in the late 1950s, there appeared in Sao Paulo, Brazil a statesman named Janio Quadros. Janio had an aggressive plan to stamp out local government corruption, and on this platform he won the election for mayor of South Americas largest city.
Janios plan to remove all the bad guys from local government, and establish an honorable and honest administration worked! And he had total support from the local people. His fame grew, and extended all over Brazil and so, after completing his term as Mayor of Sao Paulo, Janio announced his candidacy for president of Brazil.
Janio won the 1960 election, with a surprisingly high 48% of the vote. And as the new president of Brazil, Janio continued to sweep away corruption, this time at the federal level. But his program was so aggressive, and his politics so radical that it would have to take quite a while to bring about the results he had promised and had been fighting for.
He started his programs, but he didnt see the reforms he expected taking effect. Things were not happening as fast as he wanted, and he faced mounting pressures, from abroad and from both the left and the right within Brazil itself. Then on August 24, 1961, Janio Quadros resigned the presidency!
Back here in Abilene, there was a successful football coach and beloved spiritual leader named Wally Bullington or Coach Bully, as he was better known. He always included in his messages to us a reminder to continue our faith walk. He would say: A Christian never loses. He only loses if he gives up.
Instead of giving in to the pressures and discouragements; instead throwing in the towel, we need to keep in mind that it is faithfulness to God and not crisis that we are all about. When crises hit, and the desire to give up takes over us, lets remember Serenas words about fighting to the end, and Coach Bullys words about never giving up, and especially Pauls words:
Dont waver. Stay on track, steady in God. (Philemon 4, The Message)
Are you presently experiencing a new life? Gods word says, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! This new life is a free gift of God through faith Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about this life that only Jesus can give you, sign up for one of our Bible courses. Wherever you are in life, whatever youve done, you can begin again. You may also contact Lou Seckler at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about becoming a new creation.
Author: Lou Seckler
Publication Date: July 17, 2003
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