Running For More Than Gold
“God often takes a course for accomplishing His purposes directly contrary to what our narrow views would prescribe. He brings a death upon our feelings, wishes, and prospects when he is about to give us the desire of our hearts (John Newton).” I think this quote applies directly to the life of Eric Henry Liddell. The final words he said on this earth where “total surrender,” and he lived it out in his life and was content in every situation. Eric Liddell was arguably Scotland’s best track athlete and participated in the olympics, but in his athletic prime he abandoned track and followed God’s will for his life. Eric Liddell’s life honored God and inspired ...view middle of the document...
In 1920, Eric joined his brother Rob at Edinburgh University to study in Pure Science. He graduated after the Paris Olympics in 1924. “While at Edinburgh Eric excelled in short distance running, rugby union and cricket. In 1922 and 1923 he played for Scotland Rugby Union in the Five Nations. However, it was at running that he really excelled, and after setting a new British record in the 1923 100 yards sprint, he was considered a great prospect for the Olympics in 1924.” (Pettinger)
Eric trained hard for the Olympics, but without making much of a fuss about it, Eric withdrew from his strongest race, the 100 meters. He did this because the finals heat was on a Sunday. He instead participated in the 400 meters and remained in the 200 meters in the 1924 Olympics. As Eric was standing by his blocks before the 400, a US participant handed him a piece of paper. On it was written; 1 Samuel 2:30 "Those who honor me I will honor". Sprinting from the start, Liddell created a significant gap to the other runners and held onto win Gold and set a new Olympic record time of 47.6 seconds. He described his race plan:
"The secret of my success over the 400m is that I run the first 200m as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200m, with God's help I run faster." (BBC News)
Eric won the gold medal in the 400 meters even though he was a huge underdog and later won bronze in the 200 meters. When an Olympic star, Liddell’s childhood faith prospered and matured and honoring God remained his number one priority.
Eric again sought to honor God by pursuing souls for Christ in China, leaving his fans in disbelief. His fans were disappointed but also obviously impressed by his priorities. Then after the olympics, and much to the dismay of his many fans Eric decided to return to China as his parents had done. He left for China in 1925, and...