Do you know the name Lolo Jones? She was a wiry youngster from Iowa, who early-on discovered she was born to run. Ever since she could remember she loved to run. As a teen she couldn’t remember a day in her life that she hadn’t. Sometimes only five miles; sometimes much more.
She didn’t walk anywhere; she ran. Out to get the mail, from the school bus to the school building, from her folks’ car in the church parking lot to the front door of the church. Others walked; Lolo ran. When there were races in her gym class at school no one else ever expected to win.
Growing up she had learned about the Olympic Games, and in her young heart she began to dream about becoming an Olympic athlete. No one who knew her doubted that she would one day compete with the best. She tried out and won a spot on the US Olympic team that would compete in 2008 in Beijing, China. Her best sport was the hurdles, and Lolo would run in the 110 meter hurdle race representing the United States.
The times that were being posted for her in the run-up to the final competition left no doubt. If you were going to win the 110 meter hurdles in Beijing in 2008 you would have to beat Lolo Jones.
Finally the day came. The runners took their places and the starting gun sounded. Lolo was out of the starting blocks quickly and moved to the front as the other runners streamed out behind. How many millions were watching we will never know. Her stride was fluid and she cleared the first of the eight hurdles in perfect form. The next five were also flawless and her lead increased. No one was surprised.
On the seventh, though, her timing was off a fraction of a second and she grazed the top of the seventh hurdle – and fell. There was an audible gasp from everyone in the stadium. Lolo Jones would not win this race; in fact, she would not even finish.
Later a reporter found her and asked for an interview. The interview was as remarkable as her career. Lolo was a champion, on the track or off. She said in part, “I’ve trained my whole life for those twelve seconds and I am very disappointed. But,” (and don’t miss this..) “now I’m going to be able to use my story to encourage others who have fallen.”
God may have prepared you precisely to be the rainbow in someone else’s storm. You may have stumbled and fallen, but God has lifted you up and brought you healing. Your pain will put an intensity in your prayer for others. He wants to “use your story to encourage others who have fallen.” God never wastes a set-back.
By Don Jacobsen