For some, sports come easy. For others—because of physical challenges or a lack of skill in athletics—sports come harder. When someone decides to participate in a sport, like running in a marathon, that person usually dedicates months to practice running long distances. Still, race day is a challenge. For Jamie Watts, her cerebral palsy was an added challenge as she ran a marathon.
Share this video with your students [0:36]:
Woman with cerebral palsy finishes marathon
You would expect Jamie to be discouraged that her pace was slower than the average marathon runner, but she was determined to finish the race anyway! Thanks to special accommodations from the race workers, she was able to start early and take as much time as she needed to finish.
- What experiences discourage you? (Answers will vary.)
- What thoughts or feelings do you have when you are discouraged? (Answers will vary.)
- Jamie had the support of the race workers to help accommodate her needs. She also had someone alongside her throughout the race to support her physically and emotionally. Who do you know who reaches out and supports others when they are down—perhaps someone who has inspired you or those close to you? Share an example. (Answers will vary but might include a teacher, pastor, or friend.)
Jamie Watts’ determination might encourage other athletes to keep going or to come alongside those who need help to keep going. It might encourage others with physical challenges to reach for their dreams. Her example might even touch the lives of other people in ways she could not imagine.
It is good that Jamie had support for her race, but what happens when we don’t find encouragement from those around us—when we feel alone, or think others don’t understand what we’re going through, or when others are discouraged, too? Examples from the life of the apostle Paul will help us find and give encouragement even in the most difficult experiences. Let’s find out where Paul found his encouragement.