The first of the year blew in with cold weather including a few snow days. For us southerners, snow is a rare site. Most of us bundled up and enjoyed the white stuff while it lasted and posted our pics of snowmen, snow angels and snow ball fights. After a day or two, many were ready to raise a white flag and declare a truce with the cold and move on to summer or, at least, spring. We’re pretty weak when it comes to cold weather in the south. But, we’re plenty tough when it comes to heat and humidity!
The month of February is usually all about Valentine’s Day, but every four years, it’s about the Olympics. I love the Olympics! I will be glued to my TV as much as humanly possible once the competition begins. A story came out of the games in 2006 that I have never forgotten. You may remember it. It is the story of Zhang Dan and her partner, Zhang Hao—Chinese pair skaters.
Oh, how graceful they were. I was watching in dreamy amazement. They glided across the ice with such ease. Then it was announced they would attempt a never before landed quadruple Salchow. Now—no one really knew what that was, but we knew it was going to be quite heroic. The audience, at home and in the rink, were pulling for a successful landing.
But, it was not to be. As Zhang Hao threw his beautiful partner in the air, she starting spinning like a colorful top, but when she landed, her ankle gave way and she hit the ice in the most ungraceful position. Both knees crashed into the ice with a loud thud. You could almost hear a collective, worldwide gasp.
This beautiful skater continued to spin across the ice stopping only when she barreled into the retaining wall. The cameras shot to her teammates, who stood with their hands over their mouths and their eyes filling with tears; then to the crowd of Olympic fans, each staring in horror. In homes around the world, millions of viewers, like me, watched from our living rooms, too shocked to speak.
But the real story was still to come. Zhang Dan skated to the side as she rubbed her knees and cried. Her partner was right beside her, comforting her and holding her up. Everyone assumed they were finished; their Olympic dream over. But, after just four minutes, as if by some pre-determined cue, the pair proudly resumed their routine. The pair took home the silver medal that night, but they won gold in hearts of the many Olympic fans.
Later in an interview, Zhang Dan said she truly didn’t think she could go on, but she said, “We are at the Olympics. We didn’t say a word about giving up.”
The bible tells us in 2 Thessalonians 3:13, “And as for you, brothers and sister, never tire of doing what is good.”
Give up, wave a white flag, surrender—in our daily walk we just get tired, don’t we? Many times it seems we’ve been thrown and we’re still spinning or we’ve crashed into a wall which just leaves us more exhausted or broken. But, take heart. While, we’re told to not tire of doing good, we’re also told that God understands our tired, discouraged and broken days. He understands and He cares. I love Psalm 121:3(NLV) He will not let your feet go out from under you. He who watches over you will not sleep.
Our prayer over each of our campers and their families is for peace and comfort from the Lord. This season has been particularly hard with sickness, weather issues and, even, death. Isn’t it comforting to know that God never sleeps, but continually keeps watch over us?
We’ve spent the last few months hiring our twenty-plus college students who will serve our campers this summer. We ask that you add them to your prayer list as they prepare themselves for the job before them. We’re very excited about Camp 2018 and know God is going bless the efforts of our staff and the lives of our campers.