Tuesday, June 29, 2021

I Kept the Faith

“I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me…” 2 Timothy 4:7-8

When we read this verse written by St. Paul, we can also remember Eric Liddell, the Scottish Olympic gold medallist winner. He is also the main character in the 1981 Oscar winning film, Chariots of Fire. 

During the Olympics, Eric, a devout Christian, refused to run for the hundred meter dash because it was held on a Sunday even if it was his best event. Instead he ran the 400 meter and won a gold medal. Eric Liddell said that he did his best in running the first half of the race, and then depended on God for the second half. In spite of an amazing career as a runner, Eric Liddel chose to leave all the fame and glory and go to China as a missionary like his father before him. He believed that is what God called him to do. When asked if he regretted his decision, he answered, “It's natural for a chap to think over all that sometimes, but I'm glad I'm at the work I'm engaged in now. A fellow's life counts for far more at this than the other.”

When he got to China, he became a teacher at an Anglo-Chinese college for privileged Chinese students. He was also in charge of Sunday school. In 1941 when the foreigners in China were advised to leave because of the danger from the Japanese invaders, Eric opted to stay behind while his wife and daughters went back home to Canada. Eric served the poor in a rural mission station in Xiaozhang, where he was always overworked and exhausted by the stream of Chinese needing medical treatment. 

In 1943, he was imprisoned in the Weihsien Interment Camp. While there, for two years until his death, he served others unselfishly, helping the elderly, leading bible study. One man who was interned with him wrote a book about his experience and mentioned that Eric Liddel was "the finest Christian gentleman it has been my pleasure to meet.” 

Another survivor of the camp, Langdon Gilkey, said of Eric: “He was overflowing with good humor and love for life, and with enthusiasm and charm. It is rare indeed that a person has the good fortune to meet a saint, but he came as close to it as anyone I have ever known."

Wherever we are Lord, whatever our station in life or our job, may we serve You in whatever way we can, and be a light in the darkness. May we finish the race with honor and keep the faith. 

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I am so glad you dropped by! You are a blessing!
:^) Patsy