The olympics have journeyed to London and they have left us just as swiftly. In 2014 they will come back in the form of winter sports. This go around, for the first time, I realized just what it is that makes me thoroughly love the olympics.
Sure, I love sports – all sports. I’m a junkie, but when push comes to shove, that alone would not be enough to get me excited to love the olympics the way I do. In fact, whatever amount of American patriotism I have and the joy I get of seeing Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin and other great American athletes show the world why we are the best athletic nation in the world wouldn’t even be enough to have me love the olympics.
Why do I love the olympics?
For two weeks every two years, earth gets a slight foretaste of heaven. Every two years the world unites and rallies in one place, for a common purpose. I cheer as I see Usain Bolt run as the fastest man ever; I get emotional as Kirani James wins the first medal in Grenadian history – a gold – in the 400m race; I am uplifted as I see countries unite and cheer for each other as we watch together in amazing human accomplishments using their God given gifts. The world gathers and the world celebrates together and even if we don’t realize it, we enjoy a foretaste of heaven:
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
(Revelation 7:9-10 ESV)
However, one day, instead of cheering for olympians from around the world, we will be standing together with brothers and sisters from all around the world celebrating in the ways our God has blessed and saved us. It will be amazing.
This summer, during the London Olympics, I longed for the new heaven and the new earth to be here. I longed for the now and not yet to be fully realized. I longed to see the words of the apostle John come to fruition. It made me miss my brother Ramon. Yet, as I watched the olympics, I meditated on these words:
[Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
(Revelation 21:1-6 ESV)
One day, all nations, tribes, people, cultures, eras, races, etc. are going to be together celebrating the saving work of Jesus. This a day I look forward to and in this, we will live in a perfected world. Until then though, I will let the olympics be a foretaste of heaven.
Why do you love the olympics?