“I believe God made me for a purpose, but he also made me fast. And when I run I feel His pleasure.”
~Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire
Why did Chariots of Fire win 4 Oscars, another 12 wins & 15 nominations?
Because we all have that something, that one thing that makes us stand out in a crowd. Something we can do that no one else can do. We’re born with it. And even the cynical, if they’re being honest, know that they were created for something extraordinary. The essence of greatness is knowing what you were created to do and doing it with all of your heart, mind, soul and strength.
What separates the wheat from the chaff, if you will, is not determination, its not ambition, its not sheer will to succeed. Its faith. Its hope. Its believing that something beyond human capability can happen in and through mere mortals.
Some will never embrace this reality for any number of reasons. Others will step out in extraordinary faith and take a risk. Many of those will fall flat on their face and fail so many times they face a crisis of belief. But those who prevail are those who hope. Their strength will be renewed. They will fly with wings like eagles. They will walk and not be weary. They will run and not faint.
Those words are truths stored in the annals of ancient history, first proclaimed by the prophet Isaiah some 700 years before the birth of Christ and oft repeated by those who understand the benefit, dare I say value, of relinquishing control and surrendering the outcomes of life to a passionate pursuit of faith, hope, and love, trusting all outcomes to God’s will and divine purpose.
I often wonder if a movie like Chariots of Fire would find the same sort of success in our time. I almost believe it would. I think there are similarities between COF and the tenacity seen in the recent blockbuster “Slumdog Millionaire.” I’m not sure I can properly describe those similarities at this time, but I sense them in my gut. And it encourages me that the similar themes between the two movies consistently point back to extraordinary faith, risks, and belief.
At the end of the day, I want to be found as one who pursued faith, hope, and love with reckless abandon, unsatisfied with the status quo and passionate for achieving something beyond myself. I am 32 and I am still not sure what that something is. But my hope is in a God who created me for good works he prepared in advance for me to do. My faith is in one who tells me that, “…in the world you will have trouble but take heart, I have overcome the world.” And my trust is in a higher power who is able to do exceedingly more than I could ever ask or imagine according to His great power at work IN ME. So in time, through faith, I trust that that higher purpose, whatever it may be, will be revealed.
The essence of these truths is no better captured artistically than in Eric Liddell’s famous monologue from Chariots of Fire:
“You came to see a race today. To see someone win. It happened to be me. But I want you to do more than just watch a race. I want you to take part in it. I want to compare faith to running in a race. It’s hard. It requires concentration of will, energy of soul. You experience elation when the winner breaks the tape – especially if you’ve got a bet on it. But how long does that last? You go home. Maybe you’re dinner’s burnt. Maybe you haven’t got a job. So who am I to say, “Believe, have faith,” in the face of life’s realities? I would like to give you something more permanent, but I can only point the way. I have no formula for winning the race. Everyone runs in her own way, or his own way. And where does the power come from, to see the race to its end? From within. Jesus said, “Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. If with all your hearts, you truly seek me, you shall ever surely find me. If you commit yourself to the love of Christ, then that is how you run a straight race.”
Life is as vibrant as it is short. Let us run the race, keep the faith, and look forward to hearing our creator God say, “Well done.”