Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
Scottish athlete Eric Liddell ran in the Paris Olympics in 1924. The organizers scheduled the heats for the 100 meters, his favorite distance, on a Sunday morning, but he chose to attend worship instead. He was disqualified from that event. He went on to win the 400-meter race, held on a weekday.
The story of his Olympic campaign was told in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire. It includes a scene in which he was asked to speak in church and read the verses from Isaiah quoted above. It is especially moving to hear a trained athlete talk about encouragement from the Lord whose strength never fails.
After the Olympics, Eric Liddell returned to China, where he had been born to Scottish missionary parents. He served there as a missionary himself, bringing people to know Jesus as their Savior. He remained in China until his death in a Japanese internment camp in 1945.
On one occasion, he was asked if he ever regretted his decision to serve as a full-time missionary rather than a full-time athlete. He responded, “It’s natural for a chap to think over all that sometimes, but I’m glad I’m at the work I’m engaged in now. A fellow’s life counts for far more at this than the other.”
In 1991, the University of Edinburgh erected a memorial headstone for Eric Liddell at the site of the Japanese internment camp where he died. The inscription on the headstone is from Isaiah 40: “They shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary.”
Lord, when my values are threatened, give me strength to persevere and testify to your glory. Amen.