Thursday, November 15, 2012

Adrenaline Rush?

The 1954 British Empire games, held in Vancouver, British Columbia, provide remarkable illustration of Hebrews 12:1-2. The mile race that was held there is considered to be one of the greatest races—perhaps the greatest race—of all time. It pitted the two fastest men in the world over one mile—Roger Bannister and John Landy.

Following his usual approach, Landy started fast. Unlike most runners, Landy's method was to move to the head of the pack early and by the sheer power of his physique outlast the other runners, who would reserve strength for a final thrust at the tape. The race was clearly between Bannister and Landy. Soon the other runners were dropping back, leaving Landy out front, with Bannister well behind him. At the end of each quarter mile, the times were announced, and with each declaration, the stands rocked. Landy and Bannister were setting a blazing pace, one that would surely set a new world record. But who would get to the tape first?

So the runners came to the final lap, the final quarter mile. Landy was in front, ahead of Bannister, as he had been throughout the race. Ahead of him stretched the tape, looming closer and closer. Somewhere behind him was Bannister. And then a deafening roar arose in the stands. Landy knew what it meant: Bannister was making his last desperate effort to catch Landy! The tape at the finishing line was getting closer and closer and the roar from the crowd louder and louder. Landy knew that Bannister in his last great effort was catching up. But where was he? Just before the tape, Landy turned his head to he could see just where Bannister was. And Bannister, seizing the psychological moment, threw himself past Landy on the other side and just beat him to the tape! A statue in Vancouver memorializes the moment. It shows one runner touching the tape while the other, just a tad behind him, turns his head (source: William Johnson, The Abundant Life Bible Amplifer: Hebrews).

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) says, "Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame." Verse 3 in The Message says, "When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!"

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