Playbook for Life
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that, through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide, we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 (NIV)
Although she was studying medicine at Oxford University, Stephanie Cook had an interest in the pentathlon as a hobby. This difficult event puts athletes like Steph through five rigorous challenges — fencing, shooting, swimming, riding and running. The appeal of the pentathlon drew Steph to train and compete internationally.
Sooner than she expected, Steph Cook found herself in Sydney, Australia, putting her schooling on hold to compete in the 2000 Summer Olympics. The transition was sudden and daunting, as she found herself against competitors who had trained their whole lives for the Olympics.
Steph had begun to own her faith in Jesus Christ in her high school and college years. She found it valuable to spend time reading the Bible and seeking guidance from it for her life. A friend of hers gave her a collection of verses to read at the training camp and competitions in Sydney — one verse each day.
“It was lovely for me to have them each day as a focus and to build them into my quiet times [alone in prayer and Bible study],” reflects Steph. It gave her an opportunity to focus on God each day.
By meditating on God’s Word and keeping His promises in her heart, Steph found the strength, determination and courage to do her best, even though she felt intimidated by her competition. In the end, God does not promise us the results that we desire just because we follow Him. But the physical, mental and spiritual training did prepare Steph for her Olympic moment, and she won the gold.
The Bible is filled with stories of men and women who faced huge obstacles and difficulties but trusted in God and His promises to love, protect and provide for us. While our situations are not the same as those described in the Bible, we can still depend on God's Word and character as we face our own challenges.
That’s why Steph encourages every believer to spend time reading the Bible every day. “I find it very important to be disciplined in my Christian life and to try to have regular quiet times each day.”
You might not be preparing for an Olympic pentathlon like Steph Cook was, but no matter where you are or what you’re facing, God can speak to you through the Bible.
Questions: What Bible verses do you know that help keep your focus on God during your daily routines? Have you committed to reading the Bible for guidance in following the path He has planned for you?
Prayer: Lord, I know that Your Word provides the wisdom and encouragement I need today. Please give me the desire to read the Bible, and open my eyes to see the truth and hope You have for me there.