If one falls down, their friend can help them up, but pity the one who falls and has no one to help them up. (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
Nobody who watched Eric Moussanmbani at the 2000 Sydney Olympics will ever forget him. The 22 year old from Equatorial Guinea learned to swim only 8 weeks before the Olympics. He had only practiced in a 13 meter pool and had never raced more than 50 meters. Under a special provision that encourages developing countries to participate even if their athletes don’t meet customary standards, Eric was able to enter the 100 meter men’s freestyle. There were only 3 swimmers in his heat and the other two were disqualified for false starts. So Eric swam alone in a middle lane.
And that’s when things got memorable! An Associated Press report called his swimming style “charmingly inept.” Eric never put his head under the surface of the water. He flailed wildly just to stay afloat. With 10 meters remaining, Eric came to a complete stop. All feared that Eric may be in trouble, that he could even go under. He was already more than a minute too slow to qualify for the next heat, yet the capacity crowd at the Olympic Aquatic Center stood to its feet and cheered! This surprise response encouraged Eric to finish the race.
Eric finally reached the wall and clung to it. After regaining his breath and a bit of composure, he spoke through an interpreter, “I want to send hugs and kisses to the crowd. It was your cheering that kept me going.”
Who needs you in their corner, a hand up or help during a rough time? Are there friends or acquaintances in your life that seem to be drowning? We all have been encouraged at some point in our own lives; maybe we know what it feels like to be drowning or going under. Let us be compelled to help. God is working all around you and is probably pointing you in someone’s direction. They may be praying right now – I am sinking; who will help me?
Our Prayer: Here am I Lord; send me. Show me who I can help and encourage today. Amen.
In Christ, Pastor Tim