This past weekend was the “30th Annual” Tim Weaver Battlefield Invitational. It is always a fun and engaging experience. The gymnasts competing were between the ages of 6 and 18. Many of the coaches had competed at the same time that I competed or later. They made me feel like a celebrity in their midst, introducing me as “The Tim Weaver” and requesting pictures with me. It is exalting and humbling and strange to me all at the same time. I do not often get into a gym anymore. It was fun to see what the competitors at all levels were doing these days. It brought back a lot of memories from before my accident. It was fun catching up with those I had known from my competitive days and prior years of the competition, as well as meeting and interacting with others I had never met.
While last year was technically the 30th anniversary, COVID restrictions limited the meet to the degree that the organizers postponed the celebration. Before the onset of the pandemic, they planned a big celebration of 30 years. Restrictions, quarantine guidelines, and limited travel, however, derailed those plans. Last year was more of an in-and-out competition to log a meet and get a score for each gymnast while limiting the number of individuals in the gym at any given time and minimizing interaction.
As plans were in place to recreate the 30th anniversary this year, I had intended to spend as much time as possible at the competition. I wanted to arrive early each day to be available for as many sessions as possible. But a clogged catheter limited my availability each day.
In the sessions I attended, I shared with the gymnasts, coaches, and parents about my injury in 1990. When I was 16, I had many plans for my life and in gymnastics. I did not yet know what I wanted to do for a living, but I had assumed that I would continue in gymnastics and compete at a college level somewhere. Gymnastics was my life at that time. Or so I thought.
One month after my second trip to the National Gymnastics Championships, held in Baltimore, MD, I broke my neck during practice, completely upending any plans or gymnastics aspirations.
Over the years, I have increasingly learned that God is in control of all things. I have learned to trust him through all that He allows in my life. When I competed, gymnastics and how I performed were very important to me. Whenever something is important, it is easy to get frustrated and upset when you make mistakes and don’t do as well as you think that you are capable of doing. It is easy to get downhearted or even depressed when things don’t go according to plan.
But when things don’t happen the way you want them to, it’s important to remember that gymnastics, or whatever you are currently experiencing or endeavoring to achieve, is not the most vital thing in life unless your end goal is to honor and glorify God. Unless your relationship with Jesus is your highest priority in life, the resulting success or failure will not carry with you to eternity. We came into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing. All that will last beyond our earthly existence are the relationships that we develop with Jesus and others, who share in the faith that God has cultivated with us through his son.
The time we each have to live on this planet is short compared with the never-ending, eternal dwelling-place where we will spend eternity beyond our earthly existence. In this life, when something does not go according to plan, it is not the end of the world. We may feel like the world is caving in around us. We may feel as if we are hanging on for dear life. But God is in control and has a reason and purpose for everything that we live through.
When I was injured, my gymnastics career came to an end. God showed me, however, the relationships that he had built around me and gave me hope, not hope for recovery, but hope for a future with no more suffering, pain, or tears in a new heaven and new earth after this one passes away. God granted me an eternal perspective that I carry with me every day, through which I filter every experience that I encounter. Life as a quadriplegic is difficult at times. But despite any daily struggles, God has blessed my family in countless ways. Not only in this season of Thanksgiving, but every day, I am thankful to God for all He has given me and done for me, first and foremost for my salvation in Christ Jesus, followed closely by my family and friends and the life that He has allowed me to live.
The end of the world is coming, either for you individually in death or the whole world following the return of Christ to set in place His final, eternal kingdom, whichever comes first. With Christ Jesus, you can have peace through trials and overcome troubled times. By God’s grace, you can overcome the world and live for eternity.
Have you accepted God’s gift of salvation, enabling God to work in your life and manifest His presence in you, to cultivate an eternal relationship with you?
God invites you to do so today. The door is open for you to enter. None of us knows when our time on earth will end. Join in fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ, His Son, today.
Click here for more information on how you can be saved through an eternal relationship with Jesus Christ.
If you would like to know more about my life, my accident, and how God has worked in my life, please check out my book, Eternity in View, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.