What an amazing blend of power, grace, and determination! Lance
Armstrong, from my hometown, has been one of the worlds most dominant
bicyclists for the last three or four years. While not as well known a
celebrity in the United States, he is recognized and mobbed at every
public appearance in Europe.
Bicycle racing is an immensely physical and grueling sport. Only the
best athletes survive its tortuous climbs, blinding speeds, and rigorous
training. Only the most elite of athletes can be considered with the
best in the cycling world. Lance Armstrong was such an elite athlete.
In his middle twenties, he amazed everyone when he climbed to the top of
the world rankings so quickly.
But the summer of 1996 was supposed to be the summer of his greatest
triumphs. The Tour de France and the Atlanta Olympics were to be his
shining moment. But they werent. For some unknown reason, he had lost
his stamina and drive. Those who knew him well knew it wasnt a loss of
heart or poor conditioning. There was something very wrong. During the
fall of 96, he has undergone two surgeries to find and remove what
everyone had feared: this young athletic superstar has cancer.
Cancer! Cancer? Yes, it does strike the best, the brightest and the
most fit, even in their twenties. Lance Armstrongs biggest fight is
our reminder and wake up call. All any of gets is one lifetime. None
of us knows how short or long that lifetime will be. There are no
guarantees. Being fit cant insure longevity, much less eternity. We
are reminded that the issue for all of us can be boiled down to two very
- living is not measure by the number of years in a life but the amount
of life in the years
- living is determined by our commitment to seize each day God gives us
to live rather than sleepwalking through weeks and months without
recognition of our blessings
Let me ask you to do two things each day this week:
- Each morning as you awaken, recite what the Psalmist said long ago:
This is the day the Lord has madeI will rejoice in it!
- and then add:
O Father of grace, help me to seize the life you have placed
In each person and each moment of this new day.
As you go to bed each evening, remember to thank God for the blessings
you have received this day and ask our Father to pour his blessings on a
young champion cyclist fighting for his life in Austinask Him to
grace Lance Armstrong with healing.