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Coming Alongside Our Kids
by Wayne Holmes
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside Gods throne in heaven. Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you dont become weary and give up. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
The 1992 Olympics in Barcelona featured one of the most memorable moments of sports history.
Derek Redmond of Great Britain was on the way to fulfilling a lifetime dream, that of winning a gold medal in the Olympics. He had earned a spot in the semifinals of the 400-meter race, and as the gun sounded to start the race, Derek got off to a great start. He was running the race of his life, and the finish line was in sight, when suddenly he felt a stab of pain in his right leg. He pitched face-first to the track with a torn hamstring. The race was over for Derek.
He struggled to his feet before the medical team could reach him. Though every runner had passed him, he began hopping forward, tears of pain and disappointment streaking his face, determined to finish the race. Suddenly, a man plowed through the security guards on the sidelines and ran onto the track.
He raced up to Derek and hugged him. You dont have to do this, Jim Redmond told his weeping son. Yes, I do, Derek answered. Well, then, his father said, were going to finish this together.
Dereks father gripped his son around the shoulders, and they faced the finish line, resolutely waving off the security men who hovered about them. They limped and hopped together, Dereks head sometimes buried in his fathers shoulder, and stayed in Dereks lane all the way to the end.
The watching crowd gaped at first at the unusual scene. Then, one by one, they rose to their feet, and began cheering and crying at the sons determination and the fathers support.
How many times have I stayed in the stands when I should have run onto the track to support my kids? Too many, I must confess. But becoming a refuge to my children will mean running to their side, not to carry them, but to come alongside them when they face hurt and disappointment. It will mean saying, Were going to finish this together. It will mean enduring the stares of the crowd and ignoring the cries of critics. It may be personally risky, it may be professionally unwise, but it will be worth it to hear my kids say, Thanks, Dad, youre my defender.
Maybe youve been there. Without warning, everything youve planned for and worked hard for your entire life came crashing down at your feet. Maybe it was a disaster,a force of nature, that destroyed your physical home. Maybe it was a divorce that destroyed your family home. Maybe you were terminated from a job with undue notice and for no apparent reason. The race that you had prepared to run ended as abruptly as Derek Redmonds race, and it seemed the whole world passed you by. Your life lay in pieces, and the thought of quitting 1oomed before you as the only feasible alternative. Who could blame you?
You dont have to do this, he says to you. And yet, you both know that you do. Then well finish this together, he says, as he wraps his arm around your shoulder and limps forward with you to the finish line.
And as you hobble, side-by-side, the air is electrified as the audience is enthralled. Rising to their feet, a low rumble begins to form above the clapping of hands. Their applause an inadequate expression of praise for such a meritorious event is muffled by the stomping of their feet. The sound rises to a fever-high pitch as together the Father and son cross the finish line.
The Father, the son, the decision, the determination.
[For the Lord says] I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.
Title: "Coming Alongside Our Kids"
Author: Wayne Holmes
Publication Date: September 21, 2003
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