There are times in our lives when failure becomes our best hope…
Derek Redmond was Britain’s best hope for a medal in the 400 meters in the 1992 Olympics. Jim Redmond, his proud father, sat in the stands as Derek took his place at the starting line. Derek had trained all his life for this event but at this level, dedication is not enough. Derek also had talent in droves. According to Wikipedia his talent and dedication paid off. Derek won gold medals in the 4×400 meters relay at the World Championships, European Championships and Commonwealth Games. He also held the British record for the 400 meters sprint. While this might seem like a charmed life, the wins do not come easily to anyone; not even the super talented.
Derek had faced major adversity in his quest for his ultimate prize…Olympic glory. Numerous injuries and surgeries had delayed the quest for his goal. Throughout the years, his father, Jim Redmond had coached him, supported him, encouraged him and, through a father’s accountability, had instilled in Derek a sense of self-discipline and determination. Derek shared his dad’s desire to be the best that he could possibly be.
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.
Derek knew that he would only have to run a race he was capable of running and he would be in line for a medal and all the distinction that comes with it. A gold medal could ensure that he would be set for life. Speaking engagements, endorsements and royal treatment. In the preliminaries he had fared well. One final heat stood between him and a shot at his ultimate prize.
The race began with Derek positioning himself well. After the first turn with the runners headed down the back straight away, Derek was near the front of the pack. He knew that his greatest asset was his strong finishing kick. As he began his final push for the remaining 200 meters of the race, he heard and felt a pop as if someone had shot him in the back of his leg. His hamstring had been so taxed that it snapped and shredded, rendering him unable to finish and barely able to walk. His dreams were snatched from him in split second. All he had worked towards for years vanished.
One of the things his father had instilled in him was that no matter how far behind you get, you do not quit. Redmond refused to come off the track, determined to cross the finish line. With the agony of physical pain and the pain of loss painted on his face, Derek struggled to pull his injured body to the finish line. As a solitary figure staggered around the track, another solitary figure fought his way past spectators and security down to Derek’s side. It was Derek’s father. Jim Redmond bolstered up his son and together they crossed the finish line.
Although he had officially been disqualified from the race, the story of the father and son touched the hearts of millions of viewers across the world.Ask anyone in England who Derek Redmond is and they all know. However, the name of the runner who actually won the race has faded from memory.
Because of his story, endorsement offers poured in. Derek became a sought after speaker as well as a sports commentator, trainer and advisor to the Olympic Committee. In his loss, Derek Redmond has achieved more than he would have had he won.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
In our own lives our plans may often get derailed. You may have given your life completely to a goal only to have it ripped out from under you. It doesn’t mean that God is no longer with you or that he doesn’t care about your dreams or desires. Our heavenly father walks up beside us just like Jim Redmond came up beside his son and helped him across the finish line. When our own plans get off track, maybe it is God’s design…maybe it is just life. But if you lean on your Father during those times and do not give up, the result may be different from what you imagined, yet better than you had ever hoped for.
Images from Derek Redmonds Facebook page…Let Derek know that his story touched you by liking his page here.