When I first met Christine Caine, slack-jawed might be the only word? When you witness someone astonishingly gifted for such a time as this, there are no words. I’ve listened to her speak countless times, talked Jesus with her over dinners, late through the night and over early breakfasts and this woman is called like no other, anointed like none before and she is not only an unstoppable global igniter of a whole generation, she is also a tireless advocate for women who are victims of human trafficking worldwide – as well as an avid runner.
All of these elements combined are what make her latest book, UNSTOPPABLE, a powerful weapon in the Body’s artillery against the dark. It’s a deep & humbling grace to welcome a woman I so esteem and love to the farm’s front porch today to have her share what it looks like to sprint toward victory for the kingdom of Christ —
The year was 2000—Saturday, September 30.
The place, Sydney, in my homeland of Australia.
The image of the five interlocking Olympic rings fluttering on the Olympic flags above us and plastered all over Sydney made my heart swell.
Before the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the USA women’s 4 x 100-meter relay team had won the gold medal nine times out of sixteen Olympics. Coming into this race, they were the reigning Olympic champions.
As they prepared to carry on that legacy, I was ready to cheer them on to victory.
The shot rang out and they were off. The first USA handoff was smooth, and my screaming cheers were lost in the roar around me as the US team took the lead.
But in the next exchange zone, the second runner struggled to get the baton into the third runner’s hand. My heart fell. One sloppy exchange and the USA championship was relinquished.
Four years passed.
In a hotel somewhere in the US, on August 27, I sat in front of a television, captivated by scenes of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece.
Never was my anticipation higher than when Team USA took their places for the first round of the qualifying heats of the women’s 4 x 100-meter relay. The four American women were considered to be the four fastest runners on the field.
The next day, nothing could have kept me away from watching the finals, the medal race.
I still don’t know exactly what went wrong. They had run out of the exchange zone. The second handoff came too late. Not only did they miss the gold, they were disqualified.
“How could this happen?” I cried.
Fast-forward to Beijing in 2008, the semifinals—Thursday, August 21. Exchange one—perfect! Exchange two—ideal! Whew!
What happened next is still seared in my memory—the image of that baton slipping from Lauryn Williams’s grasp and hitting the track.
She dropped the baton!
And with it the hopes and dreams of every fan of Team USA. For the first time in forty-eight years, Team USA wouldn’t even run in the final medal race.
By the time of the London 2012 games, twelve years since I’d witnessed that first disappointing loss, I was afraid to watch the women’s 4 x 100 relay. Not that I was going to let that stop me, of course.
I assumed it was my love of the games, my love of the sport that kept drawing me back to watch the games, but God had another reason for instilling within me a passion for the relay race. He had something important he wanted me to see.
- Having the fastest runner doesn’t necessarily win the race.
- Having the fastest team doesn’t necessarily win the race.
- Having the most experienced or the most dedicated runners doesn’t necessarily win the race.
None of these things will win the race unless the baton is safely passed in each and every exchange zone and carried first across the finish line.
It if isn’t, the entire team loses.
In a relay, everything hinges on what happens in the exchange zone.
And that’s when it hit me—this lesson from God twelve years in the making.
I wasn’t just watching an Olympic race. I was seeing a crystal clear representation of how the church must work and what happens when it doesn’t.
As those athletes moved into position in London in 2012, I was seeing the church lined up in lanes all over the globe, batons in hand, running the race that matters most in this world—the divine relay!
This divine relay is filled with exchange zones.
If the baton of faith passes fluidly from person to person, from generation to generation, we speed unstoppable toward the finish line.
But if the exchange is fumbled, the whole team, the whole church, suffers.
The divine relay is tough.
The track is treacherous.
There are so many ways to mangle the exchange zones, to overshoot, to be knocked off the track, to drop the baton —
to stop running.
The church needs champion runners who never give up, who persevere no matter what they encounter, who run to win—unstoppable, no matter the cost.
There is only one thing you are responsible for.
Only one thing matters: Run the race marked out for you.
Run forward toward the finish line with your eyes fixed on Jesus, so that you too can one day say:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
Christine Caine is a recognized teacher, preacher, author, and activist. As a founder of The A21 Campaign, Christine leads one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world dedicated to rescuing victims of human trafficking in twelve countries.
Additionally, through her personal ministry, Christine shares messages of hope, encouragement, and freedom in churches across the globe and frequently addresses leaders of some of the world’s largest organizations. Christine and her husband, Nick, spend their time in both Sydney, Australia, and the United States, and they are entirely smitten with their daughters Catie and Sophie.
I cannot speak highly enough of this woman and her passion for Jesus — she has profoundly and literally changed my life — and her book, Unstoppable available everywhere books are sold this week(!), August 26, 2014, is a book for now and your race, right where you are.