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"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play…it is war minus the shooting."

George Orwell

Elijah was afraid

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life 1 Kings 19:3

In the previous chapter Elijah had seen God do miracles. He had challenged the prophets of Baal to prove who was the real God. God showed up with a spectacular display of his power (1 Kings 18:22ff). Then, in a time of drought, Elijah prophesied that it would rain and it did. But when the evil queen Jezebel threatens him, he runs away scared.

Fear is part of human existence. We can spend a sporting lifetime trying to get to the National Championships, Olympics or World Championships, achieve the dream and be too scared to enjoy it.

The film, Chariots of Fire, contrasts the attitudes of two athletes to their competition. The story is based on the 1924 Olympics. The film has Harold Abrahams, who was to win the 100m say: “And now in one hour's time, I will be out there again. I will raise my eyes and look down that corridor; 4 feet wide, with 10 lonely seconds to justify my whole existence. But will I?... Aubrey, I've known the fear of losing but now I am almost too frightened to win”.

Eric Liddell, winner of the 400m says “God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast and when I run, I feel his pleasure”. The contrast between the two men is stark but let’s not be too hard on Abrahams. Many athletes have known that paralysing fear before the big competition.

When the angels came to announce the birth of Jesus to the shepherds, what were their first words: “Don’t be afraid”. Fear is part of human experience but remember God understands. Share your fears with God, don’t run away!

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