I watched the just concluded 100m men final race of the World Championship holding in London with keen interest and in the end, there was a new world champion, “Justin Gatlin”. He beat his closest competitor by 2 seconds and the closest competitor beat the man in third place with 2 seconds. Who was this man in third place? The man dubbed the fastest man in the world, “Usain Bolt”. As we would say, “there is time for everything.
Just before the race, during the intro, when the name Gatlin was mentioned, as if a torrent, you heard loud boos from the crowd. The villain Gatlin is back to the sport at 35. Did that deter him? No. His thought was set for victory so he stormed to victory to prove his case. Like a popular pidgin English parlance, “no be first person wey go station na him dey win case”. He decided not to think of the boos but focus on his objectives of his racing, now he is the World Champion.
Gatlin was twice stripped of his world champions medal as a drug cheat and twice he tried to defend himself. Cheats are not welcome in Athletics as should be in everything else. Gatlin was given eight (8) years suspension from the sports which was later reduced to four (4) because of his successful appeal. The interesting and inspiring part is his activities during the period.
While many would have lost hope, gone into taking more drugs leading to self-destruction, Gatlin rather discovered himself and his purpose. He continued training and took to community development. He encouraged the young ones not to take up drugs and to build the mindset to succeed. He told himself that whatever happened was his mistake and encouraged himself that he was the best and will prove it to the world. From the blast of the whistle he knew that this was his last and only chance to prove to the world that he was back and not just that, he is clean and not a cheat anymore. He took the race by that storm and determination that it required.
What is the implication of Gatlin’s comeback? Many have lost hope in the middle of their race. Many have refused to blame themselves for their past therefore remaining in that past and drowning in it. Many have refused to say sorry but chose the rather seeming easy way, “throwing in the towel”. You cannot be the worst person? A mistake doesn’t mean that your world should come to a stop and reverse. What matters is what God says about you. Have you genuinely repented from your ill ways and taken the fight back to the devil? Why do you make the evil one rejoice that he has won you and squeezed out all power from you? Just as you are the temple of God, you are the seat of God’s authority (John 16:23, 1 Corinthians 3:16-17). He dwells in you so you need to positively provoke your God in you to action (Matthew 7:7). Don’t dwell on “would haves” or wish I had” dwell on “I am and I am doing”. The present can erase the stories of your past in seconds. Have you added value to yourself today? Have added value to anyone else or others today? How much impact have you made? People must learn from experiences, if it is yours, fine and good but don’t allow negative experiences weigh you down. Many women have been raped in childhood yet they move on to become titans (I do not support rape for sure). What matters is what is playing out in your mind. Many rose from such bizarre situations to promise themselves that men will serve them so long as they live and have proved that over the years. Pain only endures for a moment if checked. Many business men have been swindled times over yet they become Captains of the industry. They rise from their experience. Many children have been written off by their parents but they rose to shoulder their parents and family when it mattered most while the good one becomes the villain or the odd one. A popular parlance says, “the end justifies the means”. When the centurion saw, what had happened, he gave glory to God, saying, “Surely this was a righteous man (Luke 23:47)”. This happened when our Lord and Master Jesus Christ was on the Cross and had completed His assignment physically.
Do you fret and cry because people see you negatively? Must you continue in sin because you think you are condemned already? (John 8:11). If Paul then Saul could receive salvation (Acts 9:4, 22:7) as was destined that he would, how much more you? His activities included supervising the beating of Christ followers and other vices but it is on record that God called him to his service and he became one of the greatest prophets that ever worked the earth (Romans 8:30, 9:16). If there is a lingering sin debarring you from serving God effectively, why not put it in sincerity before God (Psalm 55:22) and become determined not to be a slave to it? Why are you allowing jubilation in the dark Kingdom? The power is in you. As it is written in Matthew 28:8, “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” and also, John 17:22-23, “I have given them the glory You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one in them and You in Me that they may be perfectly united, so that the world may know that You sent Me and have loved them just as You have loved Me”. When you believe in Jesus Christ, you are one with Him and He is in you, therefore, the authority is in you to speak and act great things (Mark 16: 15-17, John 14:20).
Make a difference and be the difference. Nothing is beyond God, success is in Him and within you. Many have erroneously thought that wealth is in the hands of the devil (Matthew 17:27, John 16:23) and he easily gives to those who seek it but I ask, why is it that not all that take part in yahoo become rich and why is it that not all that take part in ritual killing, kidnap and the likes become rich? While the penalty remains the same, not all successfully reap from such evil. The answer is simple. If you were meant to be rich, you will be rich. It depends on your choice of heaven or hell. You must be focused and you must work patiently towards your desire. God’s blessings come with no sorrows but the devil’s tricks come with plenty sorrows and damnation (John 17:12). While some would have thought of killing the reigning champions as a punitive measure for their own sins or to keep them away from competing with him using diabolical means, Gatlin thought of building himself knowing that he had left the sport for a long time. He used his main rival as his propelling force. Culled from BBC Sport online column, “Gatlin told BBC Sport his hostile reception in London was not like anything he had faced since returning to the sport in 2010 and believes the change may be because he has become “more of a rival” for Bolt”.
Those were his words. Today he is back a Champ because once a Champ always a Champ. Don’t wait for the world’s approval of you or for everyone’s sanction before you move, continue striving and working hard. The world tends to see your bad faster than your good so keep working but make sure you are doing things the right way. There is a thinking that most rich people just get rich and in a twinkling of an eye. While that may seem true, it is not wholly so. Everything happens in a twinkling of an eye but you must crave and work towards success. Gatlin worked towards his success, can you beat Neymar’s daily training, what of Obama the First Black US President, don’t forget that President Buhari lost four (4) tries before winning the Presidency two years ago, you must wake up to reality. Nothing good comes so easy. Congrats to Gatlin once again. He is indeed a hero and one of the men of 2017.