Learning to Wait and Persevere Like Olympians


I love watching the Olympics.  I find it exciting to watch the different Olympic sports.  Watching people get on a board, lay on their back and slide down an icy track is so exciting to me.  Maybe that’s because it looks absolutely crazy.  And then there is the ski jump.  Who was the first one to decide they would go as fast as possible down a hill and then jump off it? I don’t know, but I will watch.  And that whole curling thing.  Who thought there would ever be a sport where the broom like the one in your kitchen could be used in a sport?  Who doesn’t want to watch grown men sweep ice? For some women this may be a rare time they get to see a man use a broom.

While the events are great, what I love most of all are the athletes.  I am inspired by two qualities in these athletes – the way they wait and persevere.


Lindsey Vonn is one of the most decorated female skiers of all time.  She has won four World Cup championships and she won the gold medal at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010.  Due to a long list of injuries, Lindsey has had to wait eight years to get another opportunity to compete in the Olympics.

Eight years seems like a long time to wait, especially in a culture where we don’t like to wait on our microwave popcorn.

I think I can safely say, waiting is hard for most people.  We don’t like waiting in line, or waiting on food.  We hate waiting in traffic and we don’t want to wait at the DMV.

God, in all his wisdom, has told us that there are times in our lives when we need to wait.  Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”  Psalm 33:20 says, “We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.”  Psalm 119:166 says, “I wait for your salvation, Lord, and I follow your commands.”

As Christians, we wait for answers to our prayers.  We wait for the the fulfillment of God’s promises, some of which we will never see fulfilled here on earth.  We wait for Christ’s return.  We wait for God’s will to be done.  We wait for people to change.  We wait to see God working in our world. We wait for God’s salvation. We wait on God’s timing which often is not our timing.

Waiting can be hard and frustrating, but like athletes who continue to train, there are things we can do while we wait.

First, we pray.  Prayer is the best training we can do while we wait.  Sometimes, prayer can feel so helpless, but it is the most powerful thing we can do.

The other thing we do while waiting is to get to know our God. Just like any other relationship, the relationship we have with God grows when we spend time with him and learn more about him.  Spend time in his word and when you do ask, “What does this scripture teach me about God?”


Cross country skiathlon may not be one of the most watched events in the winter Olympics, but the story of the gold medal winner in this years Olympics is a story of perseverance.  Simen Kruger went into this Olympics as a favorite to win a medal.  He had a World Cup win in December, but his Olympics did not get off to a good start.  Shortly after the race began, Kruger fell and two other athletes fell on top of him.  As all the other skiers took off, Kruger was at the bottom of a pile of skiers, skis, and poles.  It was a tangled mess of people, poles and skis and in the pileup Kruger broke his pole.  After untangling from the mess and getting a new pole, Kruger was in last place.  Gradually, Kruger caught up with the rest of the field.  He then passed all the other skiers and won the gold medal.  Kruger said that after the initial fall he thought his race was over, but he got up and kept racing.

The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”  It takes perseverance to run this Christian race.  Perseverance means we keep going when tragedy strikes or when trials come our way.

No one plans to fall during their race, but we will all fall at some point.  Getting up after we fall and continuing the race is what God calls each of us to do.

When you watch the Olympics, think about the athletes had to wait and persevere to make it to the Olympics.  Remember, wherever you are and whatever God has called you to in this Christian walk it requires waiting and perseverance.

What other lessons have you learned from Olympians?

How good are you at waiting and persevering?  Which of these is more challenging for you?