Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Chariots of Fire - They shall mount up with wings as eagles



This scene has been as much a blessing to me over the years as any portion of film I can recall and I've watched a lot of movies. Eric Liddell reads from Isaiah 40 that the nations are nothing to the Lord. They are like a drop from a bucket. The Lord, the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall run and not be weary.

At the end of this clip is Aubrey Montague finishing the steeplechase. He is exhausted and dejected, but he has competed in the Olympic Games. Aubrey serves as the narrator in Chariots of Fire. He is the poet for the film. He is not one of the star athletes, like the evangelist Liddell or the driven Jew, Harold Abrams. Aubrey finds himself watching and learning from the greats, but he observes cloaked by their shadows. Yet still, with less talent he has achieved his goal as an olympian. There is no medal for Montague, but is he any less a hero?

I looked at photos of myself running on Thanksgiving in a race near my parents home in Charlotte, NC. I feel like Aubrey Montague in these pictures--totally worn out. And yet, I ran a personal best last Thursday. I felt like I was moving through quick sand at the end of the race, dropping from 6th to 9th place overall. But it was the best I could give on the day and I was pleased with the effort. No matter the speed and talent of others, it is rare in our life-long habits that we breakthrough to our own best efforts. I've been running for 27 years and here I am in my mid-thirties setting new personal bests.

I must be honest, I've been waiting on the Lord for sometime and he has answered. He has helped me mount up with wings like eagles (Isaiah 40:31). He has provided and blessed with the Tobacco Trail Church. Even other ministries are being considered in what might be called a two-point charge. I am open to it with God's help. I've personally and corporately developed partnerships with local para-church organizations: Child Evangelism Fellowship, Reality Ministry, the Durham County Detention Center, Habitat for Humanity, Alta Walk Senior Living, Durham Cares, Triangle Community Foundation and many others.

God has had me waiting all my life and 2010 has been a particularly renewed and strengthened year.

Chariots of Fire is on the top of my movie list. I always loved the running scenes as I have always loved running. More importantly now though is the marriage of running and faith. Eric Liddell exudes a confidence that comes only out of being a firm believer.

As he prepares for his last race, the 400 meters, he says to one of his competitors, "Good luck. Don't expect I'll see you until after the race." If you know any thing about running, he's trash talking, but politely. Liddell is implying that his fellow runners will only see his back. Some will say arrogance, but this confidence comes from God. Jackson Pollock, the great American sprinter, hands him a note from 1 Samuel chapter 2 which says, "He that honors me, I will honor him."

Do you believe this? Do you believe in a confidence that comes out of God's promise to honor those who honor Him? Consider.
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