Back in 2013, the year USA Weightlifting held its National Championships in the skating rink, I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I had just come off winning the American Open that year in Palm Springs and my lifting was still increasing to put me in a place to finally metal on a National Championship stage.
This was uncharted ground for me and to be honest, I think I doubted myself more at that meet than I ever had. As the weeks and days got closer and closer to competition, the pressure I put on myself grew exponentially. When competition day finally hit I knew I would have to have the meet of my life just to get a medal. Luckily, I had standing next to me one of the best me coaches I have ever known in Ursula Papandrea.
She was able to handle my nerves and handle counting my attempts and putting the right weights on the bar for me in a way that can only be described as flawless. I was able to put my complete and total trust in her coaching abilities and let her control much of what I did outside of putting the bar over my head. I had seen Ursula in this scenario before, but had never been on the receiving end of that style and competency of coaching in such a big meet. She did everything perfectly that day leading me to a six-for-six performance and a silver medal that I earned on my very last clean and jerk.
None of that happens without her, nor does it happen without complete trust in her.
Athletics has embedded in it the requirement for trust. In team sports, you have to trust that the people next to you and competing alongside you are doing their absolute best and giving their absolute best effort. You have to trust that they will do their job. You have to trust that they have the best interest of the team in mind. You also have to trust your coach. Trust that he’s doing all he can for you and the team. You have to trust that your coach knows what he or she is talking about, and is worth believing in and relying on. I would even go so far as to say you have to trust the referees, the judges or whoever holds that power. Trust is deeply embedded into athletics. There’s no way around it and there’s no way to succeed in athletics without some level of trust in those around you.
Isaiah 26:3–4 says the following, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.”
In my example with Ursula, I was able to trust Ursula because she had always proven her trustworthiness in competition situations like mine and had always sought after my good. Among other reasons, this led me to put my complete trust in her. That same reality is expressed in a more perfect and complete way through our relationship with the Lord. He has always been trustworthy. Psalm 125:2 and Proverbs 3:5–6 are reminders that He is to be trusted and has never done anything by which we would have evidence to not trust him.
Furthermore, Romans 8:28, James 1:17, and Proverbs 3:11–12 point us to the truth that all things God has done have been for our good. He never interacts with his people for their detriment, but has always been about our good through his glory (just to be clear that does not always look like what we want it to look like, or look like our own envisioning of prosperity and success). These are just two of many, many reasons we can put our full faith and trust in God. This means in times of struggle and in times of prosperity, in all things He can be trusted. With your marriage, with your job, with your athletic career, with your gym, with all things He is to be trusted. The reality of this truth should bring extreme comfort to believers in a world that’s bent on chaos and calamity.
Between the news from the Syrian refugees to the continuing controversies coming out of the Supreme Court, two things we can be certain of. First, our world will always be full of calamity, suffering, and unexpected events. Second, in the midst of that chaos, our God can always be trusted.
Think about all of the times and situations in your life where you’ve wondered why certain things are happening or why God would allow specific events. Then reflect on the Scriptures. He knows best, He is sovereign over all things, He has always proven Himself trustworthy, and His ways are always for our good. Trust Him.