The London 2012 Paralympic Games are now well and truly under way. For another nine days we can marvel at the skills and feats of endurance performed by a whole host of disabled athletes from around the world. The Paralympics are an example to us all of how barriers can be overcome and just how much can be achieved through determination, effort and hard work.
That determination was mirrored to me recently by a friend who was expecting her first child. During her pregnancy, tests showed that sadly all was not right. Her baby had a serious heart problem as well as other complications. The doctors suggested she should have her child aborted, but she and her husband were determined to give him the right to live, and refused to give in. Being a believer in Jesus, she knew that God had power to heal her child, but if He chose not to she also knew that He would give them the strength to cope. Many people were praying for them. It’s a few weeks now since she gave birth to her son. There was no trace of the serious heart problem, and after a day or two in the intensive care unit he was home and feeding properly, but will still need certain medical care. Who knows, because of his mother’s determination, he may become an athlete himself one day.
Disabled athletes have many ‘hurdles’ to overcome, but they keep going. Their endurance is an example to us all. Life isn’t easy for any of us, but through prayer and perseverance we too can make progress in our journey through life. Instead of giving up, we can look to our Creator. In the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote that “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:13). God is interested in each one of His children, and as we draw close to Him, we can be sure that He is there to strengthen and support us. As God once said through the prophet Isaiah: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
I was late and I was lost! On my way to a meeting in a strange town I had taken a wrong turning and eventually had to ask a bus driver the way. It’s often said that men are too proud to ask for directions, and would rather drive round in circles than admit that they’re lost. Surely a man would look more sensible if he stopped to ask someone who knows the area, but that’s another matter!
It takes an intelligent man to recognise that he needs help. It takes a big man to admit that he can’t make it alone. It takes a selfless man to thank another for making him great. It takes honesty to admit that we, as fallible human beings, need help from our Creator. And if Usain Bolt can do it when the eyes of the world are upon him, we can too!
As it is written in the Book of Psalms: “gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name.” (Psalm 106:47)
Could this be Nessie? Do we finally have photographic evidence of the existence of the Loch Ness monster? A photograph taken by long-time Nessie watcher George Edwards, 60, appears to show a large hump moving in the water. It was taken nine months ago at 9:00am on 2nd November 2011. Mr. Edwards said he been watching it for five to ten minutes as it moved slowly up the loch towards Urquhart Castle before slowly sinking beneath the water. He described it as “a dark grey colour” and “quite a fair way from the boat, probably about half a mile away.”
So why was the photograph not released until now? Mr Edwards explained: “I did not want to mention my sighting until I was sure I had not photographed a log or something inanimate in the water. I have friends in the USA who have friends in the military. They had my photo analysed and they have no doubt that I photographed an animate object in the water.”
One of the most likely explanations for monster sightings in Loch Ness is the existence of a family of plesiosaurs. More dramatic plesiosaur sightings have been recorded, but not verified, in other parts of the world, although the most famous prehistoric creature to have been found alive so far is probably the coelacanth. The first modern sighting of this ancient fish was in 1938, but individual specimens have been seen since, some of the most recent during an expedition off Sulawesi Island by a Japanese team in 2009.
Even so, many people are sceptical about the idea of a Loch Ness Monster, but proving it doesn’t exist is almost as hard as proving that there is no God. Because of its great depth, Loch Ness is the largest lake by volume in the UK. Searching this vast body of water to show that there are no prehistoric creatures hiding in its depths is almost impossible. Similarly the non-existence of God is not something that can be proved. In 2009 London buses carried atheistic advertisements stating “There’s probably no God …” Writing in the Guardian newspaper in October 2008, Ariane Sherine, the campaign’s creator, admitted that “it’s impossible to prove that God doesn’t exist.” Not one of us can claim to know everything there is to know. Who, for instance, knows exactly how many pebbles there are on Brighton beach? If there are gaps in our knowledge, how do we know that God is not in the gaps? In fact millions around the world today claim to know God personally, and to have experienced His touch upon their lives.
Maybe it’s not where you look that counts, but how you look, for God is waiting to be found. As God said through the prophet Jeremiah: “‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14)