Obadele Thompson was surrounded by faithful followers of Christ he grew up in Barbados. In fact, Obadele was in church religiously. "But although I was there physically, my mind was a rare visitor," the world-class sprinter says now.
"During those days, I witnessed my two older sisters become followers of Christ and others get baptized," he says. "To me, it seemed more like a fad, and I was not into that one particular fad."
Rap music was Thompson's god. "Back then there was nothing that could come between me and my rap music that was my religion and I was its most fanatic disciple. Simply put, I was a young, hell-bound rap freak."
As Obadele went through his 15th year, he knew the Holy Spirit of God was drawing him. On August 13, 1991, everything changed.
"On that day, I finally received a clear glimpse of who I truly was and the final destination of my soul, were I to depart earth and face God's judgement at that time," he says. "I understood that critical formula for salvation: a hopelessly lost soul and a loving God who desires to change such lives."
In the years since, Thompson has become one of the elite in his sport, as well as a gifted student. He graduated from the University among the top scholar athletes.
He finished fourth in the 200 meters in the 1996 Olympics, is a four-time national university champion, and holds the world record in the 55-meters (indoors) at 5.99. Thompson gives all the glory to Christ, but he does not suggest that everything comes easy.
"Some of the greatest challenges have been and continue to be the battles that occur off of the track," he says, "the daily struggles of being in the faith. Some days are better and brighter than others, but still even the darker days become history, that is, they too have passed. Romans 8:37 calls all true believers "more than conquerors" through Christ. I know I have the strength through Him to be all He calls me to be."
Thompson says all of mankind can have that strength if he calls on Christ.
"This is the key to the successful life: Christ," Thompson says. "God forbid that
salvation be left entirely up to man. We fail so often and so badly, that were it not for Christ, who ever lives to make intercession for us, our entire experience of following Christ would amount to nothing."
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