Nastia Liukin already had one Gold medal moment in Beijing back in 2008 when she won the Olympic Gymnastics all-around Gold.  But, instead of retiring, Nastia decided to give it another try.  Hard work, pain, and determination led her back to the U.S. Olympic Trials that took place a few weeks ago.

However, her comeback bid ended when a fall from the uneven bars left her facedown on the mat in front of 17,000 people in the HP Pavilion and a national television audience.

As Nastia lay there on the mat knowing her final run was over and not knowing what to do, something began to happen that inspired her.  A few people started to clap, and then the clapping built until the 17,000 spectators stood to their feet giving Nastia a standing ovation.

Nastia could have easily waved to the crowd and left the mat, but she did not.  Instead, she went back to the uneven bars where she finished her routine and received a second standing ovation.

As I think about that moment, Nastia finished her routine because of the crowd’s encouragement and her own personal determination.

The Bible says we have that same encouragement available today.

Hebrews 12:1 reminds us that, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

So, if you are in the crowd today and someone else falls, offer your encouragement to them.  If you are face down on the mat of life, get back up and finish your routine.  Persevere in, through, and around the obstacles of life.

Have a Blessed Day!

John Mark Caton, Ph.D