Be at peace

Hats off to David Boudia, not because he won Olympic Gold (or rather not just because he won gold) after barely squeaking into the semifinals in platform diving. Rather for a comment he made after the qualifiers.

I have long forgotten the exact question, but he basically said he was content with the results whether he won or lost because God was in charge of the world.

This seems like a strange comment from an ultra-competitor, especially in contrast to the sentiments of Leo Durocher (“nice guys finish last”) or Vince Lombardi (“winning is the only thing”)1. Lombardi claimed he was referring to the will to win, that you can't win if you're willing to accept defeat. Boudia's comment certainly implied (at least at the time) he was fine with defeat and lacked the will to win.

Nonetheless, he is right. The world is not about us. This is true for believers and non-believers. The world is not about us and it never was. If, during the course of our lives, we are graced with something extraordinary, we should embrace it and be grateful.

Watchman Nee was very popular with charismatic and Pentecostal groups in the seventies. One of his core ideas was that believers need to learn to be at rest. A key element of that was to be at peace with the world, rather than trying to actively change events. This may sound suspiciously Buddhist, or even Zen, but even Jesus had to remind Judas that the problems of the world never end and it was acceptable to live in the moment.

God's plan includes us, but we should remember the design of the universe is not building to our lives.

1Lombardi claimed he was misquoted. If so, he misquoted himself often and to the press. There is still debate about the original source of the citation as well, but when winning is everything, and the only thing, stealing someone else's quip is acceptable. back


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