Like the rest of the world I heard about and watched the win of Wayde Van Niekerk at the Rio Olympic games in 2016. There were a lot of headlines about the young man. He became known as the man who broke Michael Johnson’s 17 year old 400m world record in a time of 43.03 seconds. The other headline was “Rio Olympic 2016 – Usain Bolt congratulates Wayde Van Niekerk.”
South Africans alike including myself were proud of his achievement. He was bringing home the gold. One thing that stood out for me about Wayde was his Christian faith. As you watch the end of his race you notice him pointing his fingers at the sky. He takes a moment to kneel down and pray. This is what he had to say about that moment
There was no strategy. I just went out as hard as I could. I kept thinking someone was going to catch me because I felt so alone. I was thinking, what’s going on? What’s going on? And I just drove for the line. Then the first thing I could think to do was to fall on my knees to thank God and to give thanks for having the chance to compete against such great athletes
I got goosebumps when I read more about him. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to have so much faith that I would not be ashamed to share it or show it to the world.
I accepted Christ as my saviour two years ago. I returned to church after running away from God’s love and guidance. I wanted to live this life in my own terms.
After the loss of my my mother I could not believe that God did not save her. When she was sick she did not give up on him. She would go to church when she had the strength to. She would read her bible and praise God even though she was in so much pain.
She never cursed God once.
I could not understand how God would watch her suffer and not do anything to ease her pain. I did not see his love or protection when my mother was in bed crying out from pain, praying for healing so that she could sleep peacefully.
No child should see their mother in that condition. We were not ready for it but it had to happen. We had to go through it.
After her passing I did not go to church or read the bible. I did not understand what had happened and I did not want to discuss it with God either.
At the time all I could think of was, he took someone that was precious away from me. I felt cheated as we had not spend enough time with her. We only lived with her for two years before she got sick. I felt like God did not care.
Two years ago I stepped into a church close by to where I live. I was going through a difficult time and I needed some answers. I thought I would go there once and if I did not like it, I did not have to return.
I was welcomed in the church and sat at the back of the auditorium. The first song the worship team sang was I need thee, every hour. The song took me back to my childhood. I remembered how my younger sister and I knelt down with our mom, her guiding us through the lyrics. She only taught us the chorus but I heard the whole song on the day. I was shocked because I had not heard that song in years. I felt like I got a blessing from my mother for returning to church. I felt like she was telling me I am where I am supposed to be.
During this journey I learned that God never left our side after our mother passed. He watched us go through every stage of our lives. He provided everything we needed. He loved and protected us just like our mother would have if she was still alive.
He was patient as he waited for me to open my heart and let him in. It has not been easy but he never promised that it would be. I am a work in progress and he knows which areas I still need to work on.
Wayde Van Niekerk is an example of what a true faithful servant is. I look at him and I know he has inspired me to want more from my relationship with Christ. I want to be as proud as he is for the relationship he has with the God he serves and I want to say these words out loud with conviction
“Jesus I am all yours. Use me!” Wayde