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Lessons from an Olympian

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On February 28, 2010, Canadian Brian McKeever will line up next to the best cross country skiers in the world for the 50k event at the 21st Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia.  He will do so with a distinct disadvantage – Brian is legally blind.  Stargardt's disease has claimed most of Brian's eyesight, leaving him with less than 10 percent vision, all of it peripheral.

Brian will become the first person to compete in both the Paralympics and the Winter Olympics; a truly remarkable accomplishment. How did he do it? And what lessons can Christians glean from his story?

What do you do when faced with adversity? At the age of 19, Brian began losing his vision. He could have given up his passion for skiing; instead, he pressed on. Finding a way to continue despite our circumstances is an important lesson we need to learn. The Bible tells us that "If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small" (Proverbs 24:10). Will we allow adversity to overtake us, or will we find a way to overcome?

How do we overcome? The first step is recognizing that we cannot do it alone. Brian has recognized that if he tries to complete that race on his own, he will more than likely end up introducing himself to the trunk of a tree. We also must recognize our own limitations.

When the race begins, Brian will find a strong skier to follow. He knows that he cannot see the path well enough on his own to guide himself through it. Brian will put his trust in a guide whom he cannot clearly see, depending on that guide to lay out a safe path before him that will lead him to the finish line. Does this sound familiar to us? It should.

Jesus Christ has a better view of the right path than we do. We need to recognize this fact and put our trust in Him. We know that He was "in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:14). He has faced the same temptations that we do, yet He did not succumb to them! He faced trials, even being put to death on the stake, but even death could not defeat Him (Romans 6:9). He made it to the finish line and now sits at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1).

Christ was successful in life, and is the perfect Guide for us to follow. He is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6). If we want to have success and be rewarded as Christ was, then we need to follow His example!

If we are going to follow Christ's example, then we need to ask one very important question. What would Jesus do? Fortunately, the Bible records the answer to this question for our example. Study the Bible and find out how Christ reacted to different situations. How did He answer critics? What did He do when faced with temptation? What habits did He have that made Him successful?

If you have not already done so, order our free booklet What is a True Christian? and watch the Tomorrow's World television program on "What Would Jesus Do?" These resources can show you where to look in the Bible for the answers to many of life's questions.

As Brian's race begins, he will choose a guide from among his competitors. We must also choose the proper guide to lead us through life. It is very comforting to know that our Guide, Jesus Christ, is not our competitor. He is firmly on our side and though following His example seems impossible, "with God, all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26).