It’s the underlying theme of the Olympics: success doesn’t come without battle scars. These sports are hard on the athletes. Mental, physical, and even emotional training is necessary to prepare to compete on an international level. But what if in the middle of training and planning, something goes terribly wrong? What if your Olympic dreams begin to look bleak? That’s the story for several who are competing in this year’s games in Pyeongchang.

Lindsey Vonn
She’s had a career marked by scars, but to date Lindsey Vonn is the most successful U.S. skier in history. Older than most Olympic skiers, she is back to compete in the 2018 Olympics after missing the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Despite her injuries over the years, Lindsey has refused to back down or slow down. She focuses on her training and works just as diligently to represent her country, her sport, her team, and herself, no matter the negative circumstances that may come her way. As we watch her compete this year, we know one thing: she is an overcomer. She is fearless.

Sarah Hendrickson 
The face of women’s ski jumping several years ago qualified for the 2018 Olympics, but it wasn’t without a hard battle. A torn ACL followed by four knee injuries put her in danger of being left behind in the sport she loves so much. Surgeries and rehab served to piece her back together and keep her going. That and hard work. Sarah refused to quit. She has lived her motto: “Live each day and ski jump like it’s your last.” (http://bit.ly/2BIIrzU) She won’t be able to compete forever, but for now, she has these games, this time to live each day and power through.

Mark McMorris 
Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris experienced one of the worst crashes possible while performing in the sport he loves. With a shattered body, the odds were stacked against him to compete again, but he had his sights set on the Olympics. He refused to let his accident have the final word. Hard work and focus make all the difference. His eyes were fixed on something past his injuries, something bigger, something he still loves. During these games, he is competing for the gold, and he’ll give it all he’s got, enjoying the process.

There are circumstances in our own lives that help us relate to these incredible athletes. We wear battle scars and sometimes wonder if we will see victory. As believers in Christ, we can rest easy knowing that God uses battle scars for His glory. Hosea 6:1 says, “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us.” 

The Lord never lets the battle scars have the final say. He is in the business of restoring and refreshing us as Hosea 6:2 goes on to say so that we can live before Him, so that we can get back in the game. These athletes had to make the choice to focus on one day at a time until they saw victory again. We can do the same as believers. We know the end of the story. Jesus wins. We know we are more than conquerors. When the hard days come, may we trust the Lord and power through…like these Olympians.

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