I feel bad for Joseph Schooling.
Despite winning several gold and silver medals at the ongoing SEA Games in the Philippines, Singapore’s first Olympic gold medallist has come under fire for his physique and performance. The local swimmer who became a sports icon and household name overnight after the Rio Olympics in 2016 has been criticised by some for putting on bulk, and for not winning some titles at the Games. Schooling himself has acknowledged that he needs to work harder on his physical conditioning.
But many have also come to Schooling’s defence, pointing out that he has nevertheless qualified for the next Olympics in 2020. And some have shot back at the critics, asking: Who are you to judge? Are you any better?
I have to agree with them. None of us are perfect; most of us—if not all—have been complacent or have lost discipline or focus at some point in life, such that we have not been able to achieve the goals we set for ourselves.
My daily Bible reading, for instance, is not always consistent. There are days when I make the excuse of being “too busy” to read God’s Word.
I know, however, that if I keep making such excuses, I could lose sight of what God wants me to do for Him. And I could end up inward-looking and self-centred, focusing only on my own needs and concerns, and forgetting that God has a purpose for me.
Often, in such moments, I recall the words of the psalmist: “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psalm 119:105). These words remind me that I need to have God’s Word with me at all times. It is my torchlight and compass, telling me where I am at in my life now, and whether my life is heading in the direction that God wants me to go.
Like Schooling, we can all perhaps respond by letting life’s setbacks awaken us to take a step back, reflect, and take remedial action. Instead of wallowing in guilt and regret over our failings, we can look ahead and take the step to do something about it.
Lord Jesus, grant me the passion and discipline to keep going to Your Word
each day, that I will live in the light of Your wisdom and will.