Why is Lindsey Jacobellis going home empty handed from Vancouver, if she was the favorite in the event? She is absolutely adorable with those masses of blond curls popping out from under a knit hat. Let's face it, she would look SO awesome on a Wheaties box! (And I don't even like Wheaties...)
She waited 4 years to redeem herself from her mistake in Torino when she came in 2nd due to a fall in the next to last jump. So close, but not close enough. Coming in to these games, she was considered the world's top snowboard cross rider, a two time World Cup and World champion; this was her 2nd Olympics.
But Tuesday she was disqualified. In one brief moment, she left the track and skied over a gate. NBC reported that, "The most decorated, successful and dominant rider in the world didn't even make the medal round." Disqualified.
I am so thankful for God's grace that forgives us, even when we run over gates He sets up for us. His grace does cover us, but the consequences are still painful. There's shame involved. There's the quiet instead of the cheers, the awkwardness instead of the euphoria, and the absence of friends where there would've been crowds. I'm sure Lindsey Jacobellis is feeling the sting today ... the first day of disappointment after she left the track.
I will never ski in an Olympic snowboard cross event. I can live with that. ;) I'll never be disqualified for running over a gate that marks that course, but every day we walk the path God lays out for us. It's just as easy to let our guard down for a moment and find we've veered off track, knowing God's grace will cover us, but painful consequences will have to be felt. It's our tendency to get sloppy and distracted.
So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.
Do not swerve to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil.
Lindsey's disqualification cost her a medal. Our swerving in life can leave us counting losses that come from the clicks of an internet browser, answering a text message, returning a smile, letting our tongue run ahead of our wisdom, and on and on the "gates" go. Satan disguises them to make them look so small, so harmless. Did you think he'd put up a neon arrow and runway lights so you don't miss it? Uh uh. While God's eyes are searching the earth for hearts that are His, Satan is looking for vulnerable hearts to take for his own.
1 Peter 5:8
"Be sober, be watchful: your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour"
If Lindsey is a world champion and she can veer off track, so can we. How can a young man (or anyone) keep their way pure? That's the question asked in Psalm 119:9, and the answer is: by living according to God's Word. That's using God's techniques, His rules, His methods, His style, and that keeps us on the track to victory, away from loss and empty hands.
I will never win a gold medal, and I'm ok with that. ;) But I want to win the prize of the upward calling of God in Christ Jesus!!!! Don't you????? Look at these awesome truths about how to be remembered as a winner and not as the "one who was disqualified":
1 Cor. 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
Let's make this our prayer for today:
Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. (Ps. 119:133) I don't want to get off of the track You've marked out for me. I don't want to miss out on the rewards You have for those who don't swerve to the left or right in impulsive moments. I want all of the blessing awaiting me, and I want the new opportunities that come from racing well. I've trained too long and too hard to miss out on what You've set before me. Help me to fill my heart and mind with Your Word so that I will stay on track to claim the prize of Your joy.
*photo by Reuters/Chris Helgren