Two American Olympic swimmers are on their way home this morning from Rio de Janeiro. The lawyer for a third US swimmer says he will make a $10,800 payment and leave Brazil later in the day. Authorities have determined that Ryan Lochte and the group were not robbed as he had claimed. The US Olympic Committee apologized last night for this “distracting ordeal.”
This is not the only distraction marring the Games. A member of the British team says he was robbed at gunpoint earlier this week. Before the Olympics began, a New Zealand athlete says he was kidnapped by Brazilian police and forced to withdraw $800 from his bank account.
Some 450,000 condoms were allocated for the 10,000 Olympic athletes, more than three times as many as for the 2012 London Games. It seems that Olympic officials expected the athletes to have an average of forty-five sexual encounters during the sixteen days of the Games, or three per day.
In the midst of such bad news, Abbey D’Agostino continues to share good news. The best news, in fact.
D’Agostino made global headlines this week when she fell over New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin, then helped her finish their 5,000-meter race. It turns out her fall will cost her the chance to run in today’s final. She tore a ligament and the meniscus in her right knee and strained another ligament as well.
How did she have the fortitude to get up and help Hamblin get up so they could finish the race together? She told USA Track & Field, “Although my actions were instinctual at that moment, the only way I can and have rationalized it is that God prepared my heart to respond that way. This whole time here he’s made clear to me that my experience in Rio was going to be about more than my race performance—and as soon as Nikki got up I knew that was it.”
Her testimony is all the more remarkable since she shared it on a secular media platform. She is a terrific example of what James Davison Hunter calls “manifesting faithful presence.” Be salt and light where you are, as you are, and the Holy Spirit will use your influence for Kingdom good.
An overlooked teaching of Scripture is that God’s people will reign with him in eternity. Jesus promised, “The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne” (Revelation 3:21; see 5:10; 20:6). In his classic work, Biblical Basis of Missions, Avery Willis comments: “If we are to reign with Christ in the coming kingdom, we must serve during its rise to power.” Then he suggests: “Make a list of the things that you feel you should be doing during the remaining time God has allotted you on earth.”
What is on your list?
Note: My latest booklet, Half-full or Hopeful? Five reasons for optimism in a pessimistic day, is available on our website. I hope you’ll read it and be encouraged by the good news of God at work in our world today.