This Olympic season, no athlete held more “crowd appeal” for me than America’s darling gymnast, Gabrielle Douglas. I had never heard of Miss Gabby before the Olympics, but after seeing just one performance of her I told my husband that there was something special about her. She is exuberant – both on and off the floor. There is a glorious light emanating from within her.
After one of the first interviews I saw of her, I figured out what it was. She clings to Christ…continually. The interview I’m referring to is the one right after she qualified for the all-around finals – Gabby told the commentator that she meditates on Scripture to help calm her nerves and deal with the task at hand.
She doesn’t just read Scripture, she meditates on it.
I want to quote part of an article by Lavern Gingerich titled, “Meditating Day and Night” (found at www.pursuinglife.com) to point out the difference in simply reading as opposed to meditating on Scripture:
“What does it mean to meditate on Scripture? It’s more than simply reading the Bible. It means to take what you read and think about it, rolling it around in your mind; to ponder what God’s message is to you; to have a deep love and affection for God’s words. This devotion is manifested by a constant attention to His words. We need times of quiet when we can muse and reflect on what God is saying, and we should also learn to meditate during the daily activities of life.”
This reminds me of a passage in the Bible that Gabby may very well have meditated on as she prepared for the Olympics (the following passage is the Lord’s comforting message to Joshua after giving him the awesome responsibility of leading 2.5 million people into the promised land after Moses’s death):
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this book of the law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” – Joshua 1:7-8
God provided Joshua the path to success – “meditate on my words day and night.” Meditating on God’s word day and night keeps us centered in the will of God. It allows us to present ourselves “to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” – 2 Timothy 2:15
I read a great article this past week that a friend passed along titled, “As A Man Thinks, So is He.” You can find it here:
Basically, the article stresses that very few young adults know how to think Biblically. Yet children who learn from an early age to “read the Word, to digest its truth, to ponder its meaning, to pray it over with God” (i.e. MEDITATE on the word!) “have the ability to discern God’s ways and to live in the freedom of worshipping a God who will direct their ways.”
If we do not teach our children to think Biblically and to MEDITATE on the Word, no amount of disciplining, moralizing, lecturing, etc. will work well because “it is not grounded in the truth!”
Now obviously, it is easy to see that Gabby meditates on the Word (as she admits in her interviews) and that, because of her love of the Word she is quick to “give all the glory to God” (as she noted after she won her individual gold).
But I did a little digging and watched an interview of her with her church, Valley Church, in Des Moines, Iowa, and do you know what I found out (you can watch the video in full below)?
Her mom sends her emails of Scripture to meditate on both day (in the morning) and night (in the evening). That’s amazing! What incredible parenting!
I think her mom deserves a gold medal too! By the grace of God, Gabby was provided with an incredible talent, but also with an incredible parent who helped turned her heart to the Lord and to a love of His word. Her ability to turn to the Word and cling to Christ is what landed her in the position where she sits today.
While upon first impression, Gabby may appear as another “happy-go-lucky,” teen who has not yet faced life’s hardships that end up jading so many people, nothing could be further from the truth. This 16 year old moved across the country from her family at the age of 14 (now living with her “2nd family” as she calls them) in order to be able to train for the Olympics. Her father was largely absent throughout her life (due to prolonged deployments overseas with his job, which started when she was nine). Gabby had not seen her father for two years when he came to the Olympic trials in June. Currently, her father is in the process of divorcing her mother.
The intensity of the training sessions and discipline required for the Olympics was probably the least of her concerns. She has confessed in interviews that she had bad days at the gym thinking about her dad, stating, “I’m just like, “Whoa, what if he doesn’t come back (from Iraq)?” I was just horrified. I prayed every night.”
That’s a lot of emotional pressure on anyone, much less a young teen. However, she is wise beyond her years as Gabby has found the one truth to cling to through it all – Christ. She has a love of God’s word, meditates on Scripture through her trials, and consequently became “prosperous and successful.” When she earned that gold, she gave the glory to God.
Gabby Douglas – I’ve read that your last name unscrambled spells “USA GOLD.” That’s pretty cool. But I’ve also found that your last name unscrambled also spells “AS GOD LU” (“As God Loves You”). Now that’s really cool (and Biblical). But I’m sure you already know that. And have probably meditated on this Scripture at some point as well, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” – Proverbs 8:17
Bravo, Gabby for taking home the gold medals. But even better, bravo Miss Gabby for seeking the Lord, loving Him, and delighting in His word (and for being an inspiration and an example to millions who watched you give the glory to Him).
May God continue to bless you and use you for His kingdom.