Above: Adam Soldati congratulates David Boudia after David won the gold medal in the men’s 10-meter platform diving.
Adam Soldati, the Head Diving Coach at Purdue University, gave the following testimony to his Faith Church family on September 9, 2012.
In the athletic world, often Christians think that glorifying God happens when we accomplish something spectacular or earn a high achievement and then from that podium, if you will, we point to the sky or kneel and pray and give God the glory. Now- don’t hear me wrong- there is nothing wrong with this we have seen this made famous by guys like Tim Tebow and I say go for it- Tebow it away! But- I have come to believe that the most powerful, awe-inspiring, exhilarating event that makes God and His grace shine the brightest is not in winning an Olympic gold medal. I don’t believe that God’s glory and greatness is most visible in beating the unbeatable Chinese on the biggest stage in the world- but rather, God’s magnitude and strength and supreme power is most visible in a changed life.
Upon reflection of all that has happened not just in the past month at the Olympic Games- but in the past 4 years it leads me to a whirlwind of thoughts, memories and emotions primarily regarding the Gospel and God’s grace in changing lives—including mine.
About three years ago, My wife and I were approached to serve in the college ministry. It was a natural fit for Kimiko and I because of my job as the Purdue diving coach. What I didn’t expect was how much joy and growth I would experience in investing in the lives of others.
In a society that idolizes athletes, the sporting world can be very dark….. and at some point in time, student athletes who are living for the wrong things often despair and engage in destructive lifestyles when they experience the severe mercy of dissatisfaction.
As I served in the college ministry, I began to realize how much I didn’t know about helping students. So I took the counseling training as well as sitting under Pastor Aucoin’s teaching and discipleship. Kimiko and I begin to pour our lives and the Gospel into the many students God brought our way. One of the first to respond to the Gospel was David. When one looks at David and sees all that this young man has accomplished and done I believe that God is most glorified in how He has taken a life of total despair and darkness and self and how His grace has turned it into a life of growth, love, and joy. THAT is what is amazing about this story and THAT is how I believe that God’s glory is most visible to a world and people that are desperate for a savior.
Since David, we have seen many come to know Jesus and start growing in the Gospel. We have even found a new love for housing students and young men and women and sharing not only the Gospel but our own lives with them as well. This is why we are so thankful for the church’s plans for Faith West and the opportunity to minister to young people like David. We know now that God may choose to give one of these students an international platform, like David, for Gospel ministry.
I will quickly close with this.. I want to encourage you AND challenge you to never underestimate the power of the gospel and the power it has to radically change a life. The articulated gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16) and we must believe that what He has promised He is also able to perform so we can be bold in our faith and bold in our trust that our God is a saving God and that through faith and trust in Jesus, lives can and will be changed- to Him be the glory alone.