Overcoming the Past

Are you ever haunted by failures from your past? Do you ever doubt your ability to attain a goal based on failure to do so on previous tries? Perhaps you can take courage from the experience of Olympic swimmer, Jason Lezak.

On August 10, 2008, millions of viewers around the world tuned in to watch the finals of the 4×100-meter relay at the 2008 Olympics, featuring the finest male swimmers in the world.

Unsuccessful in their quest for a gold medal in the 400-meter relay at the last two Summer Olympiads, America’s select team of four seemed motivated and ready. American swimmers had won the 400-meter free relay at seven straight Olympics, but they had watched teams from Australia and South Africa win gold at the last two Games.

This time, as in the previous two Olympics, the Americans had been nearly flawless in preliminary races. But, in the finals, they faced the young foursome from France, anchored by perhaps the most impressive physical specimen of all the men swimming in the finals–the confident Alain Bernard, holder of the world record in the 100 meter freestyle. He had predicted a win for France, and when he entered the water in first place at the beginning of the anchor leg, everyone seemed convinced the French would win the gold.

No one gave America’s anchor swimmer and captain of the team, 32-year-old Jason Lezak, a chance to overtake the powerful Bernard. After all, it was Lezak who had swum the anchor lap at the last two summer Olympics as the Americans failed to win.

Yet, to the amazement of all, the oldest man on the US swimming team pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in Olympic history, lunging ahead of Bernard by the length of a fingertip at the wall. Lezak chose to hug the lane rope adjacent to Bernard on the final 50 meters, drafting the Frenchman and overtaking him in their very last strokes on his way to a new world record.

The Apostle Paul assures us that we can “do all things in Christ…” and that in Christ “we are more than victors.” Your past failures do not predict the future. Believe in the One who makes all things possible.

Yours in faith,