31 August 2012
After (an exceedingly) Great Britain enjoyed weeks of heart-stopping sporting moments during the Olympic Games, it seems there's barely time to put the kettle on before we're up on our feet again cheering for our boys and girls in the Paralympics, which began on Wednesday with a thought-provoking and emotional opening ceremony.
I'm sure I'm not alone in my excitement, as we switch our TVsover to Channel 4 to watch, in awe, these amazing people who can do more with three limbs than I can with four.
Channel 4 has been advertising its ownership of the Paralympic coverage with the tagline "Meet the Superhumans", which got me thinking about what being superhuman actually means. Surely, with the Holy Spirit working in us to make us new creations, we can all be superhuman.
The Holy Spirit can change us from Clark Kent to Superman, and all we have to do is to ask for it. Now, isn't that a lot easier than hitting the gym 10 times a week...or changing in a phone kiosk?
Recently, Lord Coe talked about the theme of the Paralympic opening ceremony being 'ceilings', and about breaking through the limits of understanding.
We may come up against our own ceilings in our lives - a struggle to forgive someone, a fear of talking to our neighbours about our faith, conflict in a relationship - but it is with the strength and power of God that we can overcome those barriers and Hulk-smash through those ceilings. By His gift of the Holy Spirit, God gives us the strength to power through, no matter what the circumstances.
In Luke 24:49, Jesus says: “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."
Letting God work naturally and powerfully through us is exactly how we were made to be - naturally supernatural. We can see miracles happen, not in our own strength, but His. With Him, we have the ability to be infinitely more than what we think we are capable of.
Visiting some of the world's poorest communities, I've seen just how true that is. I remember hearing the story of a father from Uganda, whose diabetes had left him disfigured and disabled. He was so ashamed that he hid himself and his family away, so he was unable to provide food or healthcare for his wife and children. His local church reached out and taught him about his own potential and that with God's help he could turn his life around. He asked God to come into his life and give him the superhuman strength he needed to overcome his disability and provide for his family. Now, he makes the furniture for his local church and runs a small carpentry business, so his family can eat and get the healthcare and education they badly needed.
We can live a daily superhuman life, making the decision to don the cape of Superman and fold up our Clark Kent glasses. We can show superhuman grace, superhuman love and above all show our super-humanity, all the time ensuring our letter on our chest reads A for Almighty. That's what our world needs to see from us.
So when we cheer on these incredible athletes over the next few weeks, who have overcome so much adversity, we should remember that we too have the ability to overcome our weaknesses, because with our loving Father running the race with us, our weaknesses can turn to gold.
David Westlake, Director of Integral Mission at Tearfund