Weekly Devotion
Eric Liddell Ran With God
“They will run and not grow weary.” -Isaiah 40:31
            There are many faithful Christians who spent their lives walking with God. Some lived many years ago, and some are still alive today. Today we will discover a true believer who not only walked with God, he ran with God.
            Eric Liddell was born in China in 1902 to missionary parents. When he and his brother were old enough, they were enrolled in a boarding school in their parents’ homeland of Scotland. Eric grew up to be a fine scholar as well as a very gifted runner, breaking all sorts of school records. When he went to the University of Edinburgh to study science, he continued his love for running. Soon his room was filled with trophies he collected from his victories. So it was not surprising that he was chosen to represent Scotland in the 1924 Olympics. It was a great honor for him to be chosen to run the 100-yard dash, however, after Eric learned that the race was to be run on a Sunday, he refused to participate, saying that Sunday was a day reserved for the Lord, not for human accomplishments. Although his friends pressured him to run, Eric said if he could not honor God in his running, he would not compete. Yet there was one other race that he could run in that was not run on Sunday, the quarter-mile race. Just before the race began, someone placed a note in his hand that said, “In the Bible it says, ‘He that honors me will I honor.’” As you might imagine, Eric not only won the race, but he set a world record. Eric became a hero back home in Scotland.
            After graduating, there were many offers for Eric to speak at church meetings, but his real love was to help the unfortunate people of China. He boarded an airplane and went back to his parents’ adopted land to teach science in a tiny mission school. While teaching there he married the daughter of another missionary family and they had two beautiful daughters.
            Sadly, the area of their mission was torn apart by wars between the invading Japanese and the Chinese. For safety, Eric moved his wife and children to a safer area. That was the last time Eric saw his family. Eric continued traveling the countryside visiting small villages where he could teach the people about the love of Jesus. Before long, he and all other foreigners were arrested and placed in prison camps. These camps were horrible places to live with little food and no medical help. Eric won many friends, but soon severe headaches became more than he could handle. Eric died in the prison camp in 1945 of a brain tumor. In his final words Eric whispered that he was surrendering himself to Jesus.
            What an example for us to follow. Eric Liddell was a man of great athletic talent, yet he was far more interested in spreading the love of Jesus to those in need. Truly he was a man who ran with God. May we live our lives focused not on our talents or special gifts, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In Christ,
Mike Allard, Principal @ St. John’s