I recently read the story of a little girl who had every reason to quit. She was born prematurely. At 4, she contracted polio, which left her leg crooked and caused her foot to turn inward.
She was fitted with a special brace that were terribly painful to wear. She endured hours of grueling physical therapy, without the advanced methods available to most of us. After leaving the brace behind, she spent another two years wearing special orthopedic shoes. But after seven years, she was able to walk and even run.
As she grew, so did her determination; at 12, she decided to try out for the school basketball team. You can imagine her disappointment when she was told she didn’t make it. Rather than using her painful past as an excuse or playing the part of the victim, she enlisted three neighborhood friends to practice with her almost every day. When the next year’s tryouts came around, she made the cut.
During one of her games, a college track coach observed her speed on the court. He persuaded her to allow him to train her as a runner. By the time she was 14, she was outrunning the fastest sprinters in the country. In fact, her times were so fast that she qualified for the U.S. Olympic team.
Unfortunately, she did not run well in her events. Still, this did not cause her to wallow in self-pity and give up. Instead, it was as if her failure motivated her to train even harder. She kept training and made the U.S. squad four years later. And in those Olympics – the 1960 Games in Rome – 20-year-old Wilma Rudolph earned three gold medals, more than any other woman at that time.
Wilma’s story reminds me of part of a verse in Psalm 30. The second half of verse 5 states: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Maybe you need to be reminded of that truth today. You may not be training for the Olympics. You may have been born free from disease. Yet you know the reality of pain and sorrow. You have endured unspeakable hurt.
You may have been tempted to look at what happened in your life as an excuse to give up. Maybe that’s where you are even now. That verse reminds us that no matter how dark and painful the night may seem, a new day will dawn, and with it comes joy. With it comes peace and hope.
Paul said it this way in 2 Corinthians 4.17: “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever.”
Hang on my friend. Keep on going. I know it’s hard. But it’s not going to last forever. After the weeping of this night of your life, morning is coming.
Tim Parish is the preaching minister at Maple Hill Church of Christ. Preacher’s Corner features a new local preacher writing a column each month.