David Smale

The communications director at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes replies to an article by Mike Rowbottom on the tendency of medal-winning athletes to give thanks to God
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The Independent Online

We read with interest the column by Mike Rowbottom on athletes praying after competing in the Olympic Games in Sydney ("Medal-winning athletes who think they are God's gift", 30 September). While we agree that God is not "rooting" for a particular athlete to win the competition - He could change the outcome at any time if He was - God does concern Himself with how individuals handle success and failure, as well as the gifts He has bestowed on them.

We read with interest the column by Mike Rowbottom on athletes praying after competing in the Olympic Games in Sydney ("Medal-winning athletes who think they are God's gift", 30 September). While we agree that God is not "rooting" for a particular athlete to win the competition - He could change the outcome at any time if He was - God does concern Himself with how individuals handle success and failure, as well as the gifts He has bestowed on them.

He has given gifts to each one of us. Some choose to use them and credit Him, others choose to take the credit for themselves, while others choose not to use them at all. Different people have different interpretations, and I wouldn't want to speak specifically about anyone. But generally, when an athlete, or any other person, thanks God for helping him or her to achieve success in a given endeavour, he or she is giving God the credit for the skills used.

God has plenty of time for the little details, as well as the big ones. He is omnipresent (everywhere), omniscient (all-knowing) and omnipotent (all-powerful). He is concerned with the details, not as much for the details' sake, but rather, how we deal with them. When Gail Devers said she believed that God didn't want her to finish, she wasn't saying that "God was against her" or "favouring her opponents", but she was acknowledging that He may have had another plan in mind, something she could use to be a better witness.

As Jonathan Edwards said in the August/September issue of Sharing the Victory, the magazine of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, "My plan for my life is to glorify God. To obey His commandments. The bottom line is to walk in obedience to His will as revealed in the Bible. That will result in glorifying Him."

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