Hurdles. Every four years the summer season has an added element of festivity – the Summer Olympics. I am not one to be glued to the television watching every event live, but I do like to catch a competition or two when I can. The other night I happened to see some of the U.S. track and field trials and had a chance to watch the men’s high hurdles race.
All the runners took their marks and, at the sound of the gunshot, began their journey around the track. They ran so gracefully with such a measured pace, leaping over the evenly spaced hurdles like gazelles. One of the runners had a clear lead for most of the way and then something happened. What began as a measured pace suddenly became awkward and uneven. His gait was off as he approached the hurdle and, even though he cleared it, his misstep allowed another runner to take the lead and win the race.
I wonder what happened. It’s not like the distance between the hurdles suddenly changed and nothing ran in front of him to cause the hesitation in his step. Did his mind wander and then return just in time to navigate the hurdle? Did he suddenly doubt his ability to clear the hurdle? Did he take one step too large or too short and that caused his timing to be off just enough to force an adjustment in his approach?
I’m not sure I will ever know but I do empathize. Hurdles in my life are rarely evenly paced. It seems to me that someone is always moving them up, making it impossible to gracefully clear more than one at a time. Just when I think I have the timing down and I can tackle each one, fear and anxiety cause my mind to wander and I find myself out of step. I begin to doubt that I can clear the hurdle at all and I am tempted to just quit the race. Sometimes, the gunshot that starts the race is enough to scare me right off the course!
No, I am not so good with hurdles, but I am learning that trying to ignore them isn’t working out too well for me either. If I look the other way, I end up just tripping over them and that ends up hurting even more. As hard as it is for me, I am trying to muster the courage to face my hurdles head on ~ whether my timing is right or not, whether I crash into one or two over the course, and even if it means making an adjustment to my approach. I am trying to remember that God designed the race, He knows the hurdles I face, and He will be there to coach me all the way. And if I fall down a time or two, I know He will help me get back up and continue the race.
Are you facing any Olympic size hurdles in your life? If so, I know a great coach!
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33