For those of you following the 2016 Summer Olympics, it has been quite a ride, packed with more drama than a middle school girls clique. From the Russian drug expulsion to the return of Micheal Phelps, the Lilly King/Yulia Efimova drama to the Ellie Downey injury, it has been a week of incredible highs and extreme lows, and NBC has been there all along the way to soak in as much of it as it can possibly hold. But in the wake of it all, good and bad, has been a shining light—or two shining lights to be exact—that have come out of every American’s favorite sport: Synchronized Diving.
Steele Johnson and David Boudia brought home the silver medal in their jaw-dropping performance on the 10-meter platform, but what really stuck out was not their skills, but the interview they did shortly after the competition. When asked about his feelings about their performance, Boudia was quick to reply explaining how his identity was rooted firmly in Christ and that meant he was happy no matter what the outcome. When the interviewer turned the mike over to Johnson, he echoed Boudia’s response talking about how God was instrumental in bringing them to where they were today.
In a day where we see so many athletes who are totally focused on themselves, it was a breath of fresh air to hear these two take their moment in the limelight to point towards Christ. In fact, it seems as though there is a significant influx of people pointing to God during every Olympic season, and honestly, it makes a lot of sense. We watch these near superhuman athletes accomplish these unthinkable feats and wonder: how on earth did they do that? God is the answer to that question. There is no way that people could come this far and still stand firm under all of that pressure without the help of God and an extreme amount of prayer.
When people humbly turn to God and ask for His help, He pours out things bigger than we could ever dream of. Which brings us to our next step in building something out of our lives that will stand the test of life: supplication.
Supplication is a powerful word. The word used in the Bible for supplication is hiketéria which literally translates to “olive branch.” It is specifically referencing the olive branch one would wave in the air while approaching another to surrender. That is a beautiful picture of how we should petition God in prayer: approaching Him, white flags in the air, in surrender. Total surrender of our wills, desires, and plans to Him. We come to Him with what we would like to see, just like the surrendering party would do so in treaty negotiation, but, at the end of the day, we place the final decision in His hands, the One with all the real power and authority.
When God gives us a dream in life, He never just leaves us at that. He sees us through all the way to the end. He walks with us and guides us. He sees to it that we have all that we need to be a part of His great plan for our lives. Like we discussed yesterday, He wants us to succeed and is more than willing to provide us with the tools to do so. That is why He tells us to “pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18 ESV). He asks us to pray constantly so that He can provide all that we need.
Take some time now and think back to where it was that you saw God at work in your life the most. Think specifically about where God wants you to go with that part of your life. What are you still in need of to get there? When you picture the end result, what do you see that you do not already have? Is it the right amount of manpower? Is it the right frame of mind? Whatever it may be, no matter how big or small, take this time to write it down. If God has called you to build a 20-foot staircase and you are short one nail, write it down. That is now your prayer list.
Pray for all that is on it and trust that God will provide, but also ask God to give you an open heart and open eyes to actually see His provision. So often we pray for things and God answers, but we immediately forget that we ever prayed for it in the first place. Or, worse yet, we chalk it up to mere coincidence and fail to give God the praise He deserves for His divine intervention. We need to cultivate a grateful spirit that watches out for God’s provision and is quick to thank Him once it arrives. As you begin to see God answer your prayers jot down how it happened and take some time to thank Him for it in prayer. Let it be an encouragement that those things which have yet to fall into place surely will as God is the same today, tomorrow, and yesterday.
Remember to enter into His presence humbly and understanding that He may provide for your needs in different ways than you anticipated, but it will always be for the best. This is God’s plan; you are simply the one working it out. He will provide exactly what He knows you need exactly when you truly need it. So be patient and trust Him. He has never let anyone down before, and He certainly is not going to start now.
With the grace and peace provided by Christ,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
Philippians 4:6 ESV