In August 1954 the two fastest mile runners in the world met for an historic race at the British Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada, the race being dubbed “The Miracle Mile“, the “Race of the Century” and the “Dream Race”.
As Bannister and Landy turned for the last lap, Landy was ahead and looked certain to win, but as he neared the finishing line he lost focus and allowed his mind to wonder about Bannister’s position. Unable to stand the strain, he finally looked back over his shoulder, and as he did so his stride faltered and Bannister passed him to break the tape.
Landy later said,
“I would have won the race if I hadn’t LOOKED BACK:
if I hadn’t taken my EYES OFF THE GOAL”
From photographs, Vancouver sculptor Jack Harman crafted a bronze sculpture of the two men captured at the critical moment. It stood at the entrance of the Empire Stadium until the stadium was demolished and now stands at the entrance of the Pacific National Exhibition.
Landy says of this sculpture:
“While Lot’s wife was turned into a pillar of salt for looking back,
I am probably the only one ever turned into bronze
for looking back.”
Hebrews 12 (and other Scriptures) likens the Christian life
to running a race.
We are given good advice on how to prepare for the race
and how to run it,
but in Hebrews we are given the very important directive,
“LOOKING UNTO JESUS”.
Just as Landy took his eyes off the goal and faltered,
so can/do we.
It wasn’t the end for Landy. He continued to run,
to break records and to set new ones.
Neither is it the end for us.
When WE lose sight of our goal and falter,
it isn’t the end either.
Our gracious God forgives us and uses the experience to teach us
and to increase our faith and to keep us on the right path, with our focus on Him – and He works in us to achieve more and more in His service.
The apostle Peter was one who learned this lesson. Peter was the ONLY person (apart from Jesus Himself) to have ever walked on water – UNTIL he took his eyes off the Lord. When his attention was given to the danger of the wind and the waves, he faltered and began to sink, but his cry and return of focus to the Master enabled him to rise again to victory.
When we maintain our focus on Jesus,
on walking in His will, on obeying His direction,
we will know victory:
victory over our enemies – the world, the flesh and the devil.
No, it doesn’t mean the end of struggles, pains and disappointments,
for those are also a necessary part of our training,
but we have His promise that “we are more than conquerors”
# When we don’t trust God to do what He promised, we call Him a liar!
# Victory is agreeing with God that what He says is true.
# Where there are no trials, there are no triumphs.
# If there is NO FRUIT in my life, there is NO REASON for my existence.
(coming next: John Landy’s RIGHT focus – a time when he WENT back)