Volleyball was introduced as an Olympic sport in the 1964 Tokyo games. A Japanese women’s team was chosen to represent their nation for the event. Hirofumi Daimatsu, their coach, put the women through a grueling training program that resembled a Marine boot camp. The six day a week training program was quite brutal on the women both physically and mentally. Daimatsu, in fact, was trying to utterly break the women. He promised them two things: those who could not survive would be released from the team, but those who did would win the Olympic gold medal. The training did pay off and they eventually did win the gold. When they stood to receive their medal every woman was crying.
“It was a glorious moment,” said team captain Masae Kasai. “We all cried for two reasons. We had won the gold medal and had fulfilled our expectations and that of the Japanese people. Even more, we cried because this would be our last game together, and even though we had been through so much pain and anguish it was worth it. I’m sure we would all do it again.” (Bud Greenspan. 100 Greatest Moments in Olympic History).
Even though their journey had been difficult, those women would have gone through it again for the prize of the gold. At times, our spiritual journey can be difficult, but in the end we are promised a gold crown if we are faithful. Our choice is found in the determination we have to reach for the prize.
Because of sin, our journey through life can be challenging and each journey is unique. There is no fairness in this journey because that is not how fallenness works. The only thing we can control is how we choose to get through it.
Of course, God knows this and, because He finds us worthy despite our wrong turns and ventures off the narrow path, He reminds us by His guidance and grace that each one of us has been destined for something great. Whether we get there or not depends on whose directions we finally rely on.
God told His people in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” From the time you were conceived, God had your journey laid out and your purpose set. Some follow this path, others decide to choose their own.
For those who choose to follow their own path, they have only themselves to rely on. Their failure or success will depend on worldly grace and their happiness will be determined by forces beyond their control.
But with Christ in whose righteousness we are covered, we have the kind of hope that the world could never give. Romans 8:38-39 reminds us, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come. Nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Even for those who choose to reject it, God offers His guidance so that our journey in life might match His plans for us, “plans for welfare and not for evil, to give a future and a hope.”
As you take your journey through life, decide on whom you will receive your direction from. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Trust in Him to show you the way to salvation and resist the temptation to take your own path. Salvation can only be found by the One who died to provide it.
God longs for us to trust in Him to take us to a place where, “He will wipe away every tear from (your) eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall their be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
The journey to that place throughout life will be filled with challenges from which we might either learn from or let defeat us. The choice is yours as to whom you will allow to strengthen you. If your choice is with Christ, then study His map (His Word), depend on your compass (the Holy Spirit) and keep your eyes on the prize. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank You for walking alongside us as we journey through life. Help us to walk the rest of our journey prepared and ready by depending on Your guidance and grace. Amen.