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I so enjoy watching the Olympics. The thing is, I enjoy the human interest stories that come out of it almost as much as the sports. I truly do. Take last night for instance. Bob Bowman, Michael Phelps’ swim coach was interviewed last night. In that interview, he stated how he would purposely cause things to go wrong on competition days. He believed it would be helpful one day. He said at times he would step on Phelps’ goggles to cause them to fill with water. For the record, this coaching technique must work as that was the year that Phelps went on to win gold in Beijing. He basically sabotaged Phelps in order to make him a stronger competitor. This obviously is working as Phelps went on last night to win his 19th gold medal &    become the greatest Olympian thus far.

This truly has gotten me to thinking….

I think the apostle Paul would have made a great Olympian. He surely experienced some “sabotaging”…..

“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again & again. Five times I received from the Jews the 40 lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night & a day in the open sea. I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from the Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored & toiled & have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger & thirst & have often gone without food. I have been cold & naked.” (2 Corinthians 11:23b-27 NIV).

I realized in listening to Coach Bowman that difficulties can often be designed to make us stronger, more competent. Difficulties are not a sign that we are weak. That something is wrong with us. That we are lacking. Difficulties surely serve a purpose in our lives much the way they served a purpose in Phelps’ swimming career.

“Consider it pure joy, my brother, whenever you face trials of many kins, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work SO THAT you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (James 1:2-4 NIV).