Chariot of Fire

Leaving his young son in boarding school in Great Britain was the hardest thing Rev. James Dunlop Liddell, Scottish missionary to China, had ever done. But Eric thrived like a hare in the highlands. He studied hard. He loved sports, particularly rugby. He joined a Bible study, attended church regularly, and became a member of the Crusader Christian Union. He aslo began his lifelong habit of early morning Bible reading and prayer.

Eric advanced to the university, joined the track team, and won races like a thoroughbred. Every week he brought home more prizes and trophies until he soon ran out of storage space. His legs became a Scottish national treasure, and all the world followed him to the 1924 Olympics.

All the while, Eric’s Christian life continued on the fast track as well, and his newly-found fame gave opportunities for preaching and witnessing. At the Paris Olympics, his fatih was put to the test when his chosen venue, the 100 meter race, was scheduled for Sunday. Eric, who didn’t believe in competing on the Lord’s Day, opted out. He entered the 400 meter run instead as the world watched and wondered.

In his dressing room just before the race, Eric unfolded a small bit of paper that had been given to him by the team masseur. It read: “In the old book it says ‘He that honors me I will honor.’ Wishing you the best of success always.” Eric knew the verse well. It was 1 SAmuel 2:30. He smiled and made up his mind that, win or lose, he would honor God.

His time that day was 47.6 seconds. He won. He set a new world record. He and the Lord had honored each other.