Every year, our CrossFit gym hosts the annual, global competition called The CrossFit Open for our community of athletes, a community composed of students, former collegiate athletes, elementary school teachers, stay-at-home-moms, and “I-haven’t-run-since-high-school” dads. Despite the diversity, believe it or not, we are one close knit bunch!
My husband Ben and I truly believe that like our walk with Christ, our journey of fitness is richest and most rewarding when it’s rooted in the soil of strong relationships. Many of our athletes have become incredibly close friends. They not only cheer each other on as they run alongside each other, but they encourage one another to persevere on the racetrack God has placed them on, even when the course is filled with obstacles and near-impossible conditions. They not only lift barbells next to each other, but they lift up each other’s burdens in prayer and raise their voices in faith-filled praise, even when they feel perplexed.
“ … our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, NLT
Our community doesn’t realize how much they inspire me, nor how God uses them to show me how I can be more loving, more selfless, more brave, and sacrificial. Almost daily, I have a conversation with someone, or simply notice a small action, that makes me stop and take note of how grace was extended, love bestowed, hope imparted, or patience demonstrated. This leads me back to the CrossFit Open…
Last night was the fifth and final night of competition. One of our athletes, a fourth grade teacher named Christy, rushed in about a half hour late. When I saw her, I complimented her on her bright pink “CrossFit 925” tank top, but soon noticed that she seemed flustered, and not just flustered over being late. She proceeded to tell me what had happened:
“I was headed here, cutting through the neighborhood, and I saw an accident that had just happened. A 16 year-old had been longboarding and fell and hit his head really hard. He was having a seizure and convulsing when I pulled up.”
Christy had to stop talking for a moment. Her eyes welled up with tears, then she looked down at her tank top.
“Another…” she began again slowly. “Another woman, who just happened to stop, noticed the back of my shirt and asked me if I wanted to pray for the boy with her.”
At that moment, I felt the tears start to surface under my eyes, too; I knew exactly what the woman had read on the back of Christy’s shirt:
Christy and the woman, a CrossFit athlete from another gym, in fact, waited and prayed until the boy was life-flighted to the hospital. We don’t know what the young man’s status is, and perhaps we never will. But what we do know is that he is in good hands, and not merely human hands.
The young man, named Joe, is in the hands of the One who created him, the hands of the One who loved him enough to give His own Son to die for His sins, in the hands of the One who loved him enough to orchestrate the steps of two women so they would arrive just in time to pray over him and offer comfort to his distraught and overwhelmed friends.
“For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them.” –Matthew 18:20, NLT
Christy’s story is just one illustration of how the Lord is not some old, bearded, Zeus-like god full of wrath and thunder, glowering in the clouds with no true concern or care for the bumbling mortals down below. Nor is He, as Deists believe, the “great clockmaker” who created the earth, wound it up, and let it go, never to interfere with the way it ticks. No, the true God, Yahweh, is the Great I AM. In the Bible, He is called by many names, each of which describes His character, names like The Lord is There, The God Who Sees, The Lord Our Righteousness, The Lord Our Provider, The Lord That Heals… In short, He is everything we will ever need, and He loves us more than we will ever know. He speaks to us in everything from blazing sunsets and snow-capped peaks to simple Bible passages printed on pink tank tops.
I’m so thankful that, like the Good Samaritan, Christy stopped in the middle of her drive to the gym and had compassion on Joe. What a beautiful display of selflessness, especially in a world of hustle and bustle and, if we’re honest, unparalleled self-centeredness. How different our nation, our world could be if we would be more willing – more often – to drop everything to meet a need, even if there’s nothing else we can do but pray.