“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” Psalms 40:4
On February 5, 1976, Franz Klammer created an international sensation skiing the men’s Olympic downhill in 1:45.73 seconds. He skied like no one before him. He averaged about 64 miles per hour over silky powder in the crisp air of the Austrian Alps. He earned a gold medal and a top spot in Olympic history.
Whenever I think of the Winter Olympics, I think of Alpine skiing and the men’s downhill. I think of people like Franz Klammer and a unique behavior that sharpens champion skiers. Simply, it is this:
In addition to heavy practice on the slopes before they compete, great Alpine athletes rehearse the winning run in their minds over and over again before their skis ever hit the snow on contest day.
I remember watching the Winter Olympics and seeing this among the skiers at the top of the mountain in the starting house: they were bobbing back and forth with their eyes closed, their hands gripped around ski poles held high in front of their faces.
It was an odd dance to people watching. What were they up to?
But if we could see what the skiers were seeing in their minds, the answer would be clear: we would see them flying strongly over a downhill course well-learned in the endless practice runs that came before the one that mattered.
The Olympic competitors were intentional about making and remaking the winning run in their minds, and when it counted, their bodies followed the well-practiced patterns of balance, focus and speed.
In the excerpt from Psalm 40 above, David reminds us to make the Lord our trust. How do we do that?
This makes me think about the Alpine skiers.
Like them, we need to rehearse the ways of God shown to us in His Word and lived out in our lives and in the lives of others. We need to see the Lord as our only source of power and wisdom and recall his faithful presence in the dark. We need to daily make and remake the Lord as our only trust.
It is not a “once and done” training run.
We have to be intentional every day about calling to mind all that He has said as true of Himself and of life in His Kingdom.
Before we take one step into the day, we need to re-train ourselves in belief . . . make and remake our trust: He is always present and working in our circumstances.
Then, when it counts the most, and the clock is ticking down the count of today’s challenge, as the race begins our souls will follow our well-practiced patterns of trust, obedience and power.
The way will be familiar to us. This is how winners prepare.
They rehearse their training in their minds, remembering how to ski, until it becomes second-nature in the race to come.
The day dawns. You’re at the top of the mountain run. The race is upon you.
How have you been training?
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children . . .” Deuteronomy 4:9