It was a big race. The Christian College National Championships and I was suppose to run on the 4 by 800m relay soon. I was extremely nervous. Sick to my stomach. We had won the event the previous year but we were not the favorites this year. In fact, we had not run a good time all year. Nothing close to some of the times what we had run last year. We were seeded to finish about 8th place.
I opened my Bible. Maybe some time with the Lord would give me strength. 1Samuel 17 was where I ended up. The young man David facing the seasoned and highly trained and physically imposing giant of a man named Goliath. David’s odds were not good. He chose a sling, 5 small stones, and his shepherds staff to take into battle. Goliath had military armor, a sword, and a spear. How could a shepherd boy beat a military fighting champion?
I stopped and pondered. How could our relay team beat the giants in today’s race? We were the smaller school with one of the smallest odds to win this race. We were going up against some very fast runners and teams. I personally was just a little guy. All 5’5″ inches of me competing against the long and swift strides of runners much taller than me. Wasn’t I at a huge disadvantage every time I toed the line?
David’s courage! David’s faith in God! David’s belief that God would fight through Him in battle and that victory was certain! One stone flung by David found its target and brought the giant down for the count. All David had to do next was finish him off with Goliath’s own sword. The Philistines fled in fear when they saw what David had done, their mightiest warrior was dead. I believe they knew deep down that they didn’t have a chance because the God of Israel was fighting through David. It was only a matter of time that the whole army of Israel would believe and join David in slaughtering the Philistines.
I needed to believe! As lead off runner, I needed to give my team a reason to believe we could be in this race for the victory! I needed to encourage them and cheer them on like all things were possible. I needed to believe in the training I had done and the abilities God had given me. Fear didn’t have to be the thing that brought me down and faith was the thing that would bring the best out of me. I chose then and there to not be negative and to doubt. I began to focus, warm up, stretch out, and rally my teammates. The end result….we won.
We won! It was a photo finish but we won! The team that was highly favored to win we caught on our final lap and passed in the last 10 meters by the tiniest of margins! I learned a lot that day. It doesn’t do any good to let fear eat away at you. You have to face it with faith. You have to believe in yourself, in your team, and most importantly in God.
Sometimes on race day you won’t feel great, you’ll see yourself as a huge underdog, you’ll see the giant(s) before you and you’ll be afraid. You can choose to cower in fear and anxiety like the Israelite army or you can move forward in a faith filled confidence in knowing who you truly are and that God is there for you. This is the way we need to encounter not only our races but all parts of our lives. It’s okay to feel small or to literally be undersized for the task at hand because you in partnership with God makes an unstoppable force. With God, anything is possible! God created you with an incredible body and with more ability than you can ever imagine. Keep believing!