Thursday, June 30, 2016

by Duncan Hamilton 

Everyone who has seen the film Chariots of Fire remembers the thrill of seeing Eric Liddell (actually actor Ian Charleson) fly across the finish line and win an Olympic gold medal (Paris, 1924). He was so extremely fast that he was considered to be the number one sprinter in the world. Liddell was known as "The Flying Scotsman" and broke new records when he ran 400 meters. He could have continued on with his racing and become quite a celebrity. But that was not in the cards for him. Liddell had a higher calling.
When the Olympics were over, Liddell became a missionary eventually moving to China. His strong faith in God kept him totally grounded. He was very lucky to find a strong woman, Florence, who he would marry and have three children with. When war started to rear its ugly head, Liddell sent his wife and children out of the country and put them on a ship to Canada. He could have gone with them but he felt beholden to the Chinese and so he stayed. Unfortunately for him and many other westerners, they ended up in a Japanese work camp.
Eric Lidell was the most incredible human being. He was totally selfless, dedicated to his beliefs, faced adversity with no venom, prayed for his enemies, overlooked imperfections, never judgemental, didn't argue, and would not force his religion on anybody else. Liddell lived to help others in every way that he could.
So, if you vaguely remember the film, it's much more important to read For the Glory. It's very well written and succinctly captures true humanity.
Highly recommended.