In high school, I made “commitments” for Christ but I never really understood what it meant to have a relationship with the Lord. I had opportunities to give my life to the Lord but I was never sure about it. Then someone told me that is where faith comes in: “Do it, believe, and never doubt again,” they said. But I still struggled to understand about the relationship part of it all.
When I look at life now, I have tasted the goodness of the Lord. I know that what the world offers does not compare with what Jesus has for me. To know Jesus is everlasting, and it is a growing experience where it’s about knowing Him more and more. Knowing Him is the ultimate journey to eternal life.
Throughout my school years, I was in mainstream school and competed in sports against able-bodied students. I never saw myself as disabled, but I knew there was something wrong with me and that I would be better without whatever I had. When I started my athletics career, I knew that was part of the Lord’s plan for me.
My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 20:7, which says, “Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” This verse reminds me that it is the Lord who brings the victory, not me.
—Fanie Van Der Merwe, South African Paralympic runner
Fanie van der Merwe won gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters in the Beijing Paralympics in the T37 classification for South Africa. He also ran in the 2012 Summer London Paralympics where he defended his 100 meter T37 gold medal.. Born with cerebral palsy, Fanie and brother Chris run a Christian non-profit called Inspired 2 Become, focusing on alternative action sports and athletes with disabilities. Fanie coaches visually and intellectually impaired children.