Is life always easy? Do things always go according to your plans? Are your prayers always answered in the way you want them to? You will agree with me that the answers to all these questions, of course, are NO!
Everyone who made it to the finish line or have achieved anything significant in this world will tell you that there were times when they were also tempted to quit. However, their secret is that they defied that urge, pressed on and eventually got to the finish line. Sometimes they made it there shattered, in bruises and pains, or even crawled on their knees, but they made it to the finish line anyway!
The story of Olympian Derek Redmond adequately illustrates the point I am trying to make. He ran in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the four hundred meter race. He started out well with the other runners but just about a hundred meter into the race, he dropped to the deck of the racetrack clutching his leg. He had pulled a hamstring. When he saw the Red Cross coming toward him to carry him off the track, Derek pushed himself back up onto the track. He told himself, “there’s no way I’m going to be stretchered out of these Olympics.”
He was in a lot of pain, as he hopped toward the finish line. His father ran onto the track to help him and to try to stop him from running, in order to allow his leg to heal in time for the relay race. Derek refused and his father put his arm around his shoulders and said, “Well then, we’re going to finish this race together.” Derek did not quit until he crossed the finish line(Watch the YouTube replay here)!
A Canadian competitor who was inspired by Derek’s story wrote this to him.
“Long after the names of the medalists have faded from our minds, you will be remembered for having finished, for having tried so hard, for having a father to demonstrate the strength of his love for his son. I thank you, and I will always remember your race and I will always remember you – the purest, most courageous example of grit and determination I have seen.”
From Derek’s story, one can deduce a number of things that helped him to defy the urge to quit but I will only mention three of them here.
The first was his determination to finish the race. To be determined means to be decided, resolved or firm in your intention or purpose. Derek resolved that he would make it on his feet to the finish line and that firm decision made him to reject other alternatives like being taken out of the race on a stretcher. Your determination must exceed all other persuasions in order for you to complete your assignment. It is determination that gets you out of the bed in the morning even when you feel overwhelmed by issues that could keep you back. It is determination that makes you try again even when you have failed several times. There are usually many things that will come your way to distract, discourage or even sabotage your efforts, but when you are determined, those obstacles will eventually give way for you.
The second thing was his ability to persevere. Perseverance is the ability to endure sufferings and difficult times. It is being persistent in your pursuit or course of action especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles or discouragement. Perseverance normally stems from determination. Because of Derek’s determination to finish his race, he also resolved to endure whatever sufferings or obstacles that came his way. When his accident happened, he knew that he was no longer going to win the race, but he was still determined to complete the race despite the intense pain that he felt. This brings to mind the fact that success is more about completing your assignment than winning. Yes, it is good to win but it is even better to finish! This is because you can never win without finishing. That is why we say that, ‘Quitters never win, and Winners never quit! No great thing is ever achieved without perseverance! Derek is still remembered and celebrated, even after over twenty years because he endured pain and refused to quit.
The final major ingredient that enabled Derek to make it to the finish line is the support of his father. When his strength was failing, he had someone to lean on. When his courage was dwindling and doubt was setting in, he had someone to encourage him. Having a support is often times, what you need to stop you from quitting. Someone to tell you that you have what it takes to make it. Someone who sees all the odds against you, yet still believes in your ability. Someone you can lean on! Sometimes, this support can be human and at other times, it is divine (that is leaning on God and on His Word). I think the divine support is the most important and it should be what we crave for most. This is because human support may sometimes fail us but the divine support never fails. And more importantly, when we crave divine support, God orchestrates human support to come our way and we eventually make it.
In conclusion, I want you to know that you can defy that urge to quit by just a little more determination and a willingness to persevere, drawing your strength from God! Please share your thoughts on how to defy this urge to quit.