harold abrahams

World-class runner Harold Abrahams, a friend and rival of Eric Liddell of Chariots of Fire fame, explained his desperate attempts to win the hundred-yard Olympic sprint by saying, ‘I have just ten seconds to justify my existence!’.

Whew! I hear that and wonder how long I will keep trying to ‘justify my existence.’ How often have I woken up in the morning thinking, What do I have to do today to prove I deserve my place in the world? Or ever more desperately, How long do I have to live to justify my existence? What more do I have to accomplish?

Why do I need to justify my existence in the first place? After all I didn’t create myself. I didn’t ask to be born. I didn’t choose where I would grow up or what gifts and opportunities I would have. Since God made me, gave me life, and allotted my times and the places where I would love, I certainly don’t need to justify my existence to him. I do want to seek him, find him, understand what he wants and live responsibly before him. But my existence is already justified by the very fact of my existence. Just the fact that I am is a sign of God’s enduring love.

Leighton Ford

Adapted from The Attentive Life (2008, InterVarsity Press)

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