Maybe God wasn’t looking when John was born.
John was a normal boy. He loved to play. He loved to watch cartoons. Just as any other eight-year old boy. In fact, he was perfectly normal ? except for the fact that his left leg was bent. He had been struck down by polio at the early age of one.
John realized his problem only after he went to school. “Why have you got such legs, John?” his friends had asked him. And he couldn’t reply. That night, he went to his mother and asked her about it. His mother took a deep breath and replied, “ Son, you suffered from polio when you were very young. But that doesn’t mean that you should lose heart. You work hard and show your friends that they aren’t superior to you just because you have a bad leg.” And John heeded his mother.
John worked hard on his studies and soon became popular among his teachers. Reading books somehow seemed natural to him. Within a few months, he became the topper in his class. His classmates began envying him. And so they struck at his weakest link ? his left leg. “One? legged runner” they would call him in his back. These jibes stuck him as they were meant too. He tried to run fast but alas! he would fall down every other yard. And he would try hard not to cry.
But God had different plans for him.
That night, he went to his father. “Father, do you think I can ever run with my bad leg?” His father looked into his eyes and without the slightest hesitation replied, “Yes, my son, I believe that you can run.”
That day, a new John was born. The old John was weak and full of doubt about his abilities. The new John was physically disabled but mentally very strong. An aura of strength surrounded him. He began to try to run. He would fall but he got up again and again. This falling and getting-up ritual went off for a month and then gradually his falls decreased. After three months, John could be seen running in the neighborhood. His teachers and friends looked in wonder as John began to run quite fast without ever falling.
The annual school-run begun. And, without doubt, John took part. There were about thirty students taking part in it. The participants were divided into two groups ? Group A and Group B. The winners from each group would meet each other the next day. John was in Group A.
Group A’s run started. John tore across the tracks passing his bewildered opponents. And to the astonishment of the crowd, John reached his destination much before his opponents. John was the winner of Group A.
Up there, God smiled at John.
Everyone knew who would be the winner from Group B. Ronnie Mcquanzie. He was a champion runner, the winner of the competition for three years continuously. His long and fast legs were far better than his opponents’ were. Ronnie knew that he would have to win the competition ? because he was very weak in studies. He was a natural bully sort of boy who, everyone believed, wasn’t expelled from school only because of his running abilities. No one liked him and he didn’t like anyone too.
The shot was fired and Group B’s run started. Ronnie sped across the tracks while his opponents looked on. He easily won the competition. He was just too fast for his opponents. And the crowd knew that they were in for a big match the next day.
The big day finally came. The tracks were ready. So were Ronnie and John. The crowd waited with bated breath to see the competition. Ronnie glanced at his opponent and stood shell-shocked ? he saw John’s bent left leg. John was looking intently on the tracks.
And then it started.
On your mark, get set, and Bang! went the gun. Both the runners sprinted across the tracks with tremendous speed. The crowd watched in silence, everyone praying for John. Ronnie began increasing his speed while John began struggling to keep up with him. Ronnie was twenty yards away from glory when one of his feet fell outside his track. He was disqualified and to the crowd’s delight, John became the winner of the annual school-run. There was a tremendous applause for John. The whole stadium erupted in a huge thunder as John lifted the trophy. He had done it !!!
Lying in his bed that night, Ronnie thought about the day’s happenings. No one knew that he had deliberately stepped out of his tracks and no one would ever know. But still a new feeling of happiness was in his heart for he had done a good thing. He knew that John was the deserving winner.
In the next examination, Ronnie, to the amazement of his classmates and teachers, passed in flying colours. Even Ronnie couldn’t believe it. He had, definitely worked harder than before but still he never expected such great marks.
Little did he know that up there, God was smiling at him too.