Strength through adversity

The Olympic story of Roseline Filion and Meaghan Benfeito is about perseverance, commitment, faith and self-sacrifice – qualities I need as a follower of Christ.

Filion broke her ankle last December, just months before the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.  This was a devastating setback for the synchronized diver, a bronze medal winner for Canada in the 2012 London Olympic games.

But she and her diving partner Benfeito looked upon this as a challenge – not a defeat.

Like all Olympic athletes, they had faced adversity before and they had persevered.  They had a goal and they were determined to get there.

Filion was unable to walk on the ankle – it was encased in a cast for weeks.  But she continued attending training sessions with Canadian swim team members and working on weights to strengthen her legs.

Meanwhile, Benfeito made personal sacrifices to help Filion, focusing on helping her friend get back on the diving board.  She toted Filion to physiotherapy sessions and helped her in other ways.

When Filion’s ankle had healed, she was forced to start at a lower level in order to work back to a championship level.  Benfeito adapted her own routine to fit with Filion’s so they could develop together – the two had to be perfectly in tune with each other to succeed in synchronized diving.

Last week, they won a bronze medal at the Rio games.

Filion and Benfeito can look back at the daily grind of years of practice and pain and beam with pleasure – they got where they wanted to go.

They got there because they had faith they could do it, they were willing to make the necessary sacrifices, and they were committed to their goal.

It’s a prime lesson for me as a Christian.

Am I trusting God with all my heart – no matter what happens to me?  Am I committed to doing whatever he wants me to do?  Am I willing to make the personal sacrifices to enjoy the reward of an ever-closer relationship with my Lord, now and in eternity?

Christians who have answered “Yes” to all those questions have left their mark on the world.

Like the apostle Paul, they are not defeated by adversity.

Instead, they grow stronger in the Lord as they meet the challenge.

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