faith

Several years ago, I read an article in Sports Illustrated written by Ken Young about a blind triathlete named Tom O’Connor.  O’Connor had lost his sight at age 19 when a surgical shunt came apart, flooding his optic nerves with spinal fluid.  Overcoming this and other obstacles, he committed himself to a rigorous running regimen and was able to complete several New York City Marathons.   Next, O’Connor wanted to expand his athletic pursuits and participate in triathlons, but he desired to do so without being tethered to a guide, which was the typical manner in which blind athletes competed.  He accomplished this by swimming behind a kayak that pulled two 20-foot tubes, creating a lane for him.  If he came in contact with the tube on either side of him, he could easily correct his course.  O’Connor ran beside a guide who spoke instructions about the terrain, upcoming turns, etc.  But, most amazing and inspiring was the way in which he managed the cycling portion of the race.  His training partner rode in an escort vehicle ahead of O’Connor and called out instructions using a bullhorn.  O’Connor sped along at 20 mph, pedalling in total darkness, trusting completely in the voice and direction of his trainer!  Young wrote, “While seeing is believing for most people, for Tom O’Connor just believing is enough.” 

There are so many lessons that O’Connor’s story illustrates: commitment, perseverance, determination, trust, and the list could go on and on.  But, mostly it reminds me of the life of faith that we live as children of God and disciples of Jesus.  It is a rational, reasoned and evidenced faith to be sure, but it is still faith, which Hebrews 11: 1 defines as “being sure of what we hope for and certain about what we do not see.”  We walk by faith, not by sight (II Corinthians 5:7).  When the apostle Thomas finally received tangible, physical proof of the risen Christ a week after the Resurrection, Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed?  Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed,” (John 20:29)  We are among those people of faith who have not seen, yet believe!  One day our faith will become sight.  “We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because will see Him just as He is,” (I John 3:2), and we will see and know Him “face to face,” (I Corinthians 13:12).  May that Day come quickly!  But, until then, let us continue to walk in confident faith, listening to His voice and following in His steps! 

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