In 1954, British runner Roger Bannister proved that it only took one person to break the goal of a four-minute mile. Everybody said it couldn’t be done. Athletes had been attempting to break the four-minute barrier for years, and it was said to be a physical impossibility for the human body. Enter Bannister, a British runner who was training to be a physician. When he started his running career at Oxford University in 1946 at the age of seventeen, he had never previously worn spikes or run on a track. But he showed such promise that he was selected as an Olympic possible. Skipping the 1948 Olympics because he wasn’t ready, Bannister came in fourth place in the one-mile race at the 1952 Olympics. As other athletes inched towards the four-minute goal, Bannister, too, set his sights on the record.
The fateful event took place at a running meet in Oxford on May 6th, 1954, watched by around 3,000 spectators. Bannister won the race. The announcer spun out the results as long as possible:
“Ladies and gentlemen, here is the result of event 9, the one mile: 1st, Number 41, R.G. Bannister, Amateur Athletic Association and formerly of Exeter and Merton Colleges, Oxford, with a time which is a new meeting and track record, and which—subject to ratification—will be a new English Native, British National, All-Comers, European, British Empire and World Record. The time was 3…”
The remainder of the announcement was impossible to hear as a roar went up from the crowd. Bannister’s time was three minutes, 59.4 seconds. The four-minute barrier had been broken. Once it had been proved that the record could be broken, many athletes attempted and broke the four-minute barrier. It has become the standard for male, professional middle distance runners. Amazingly, the record has since been lowered by almost 17 seconds.
We’ve seen many Kingdom barriers broken in our lifetime–the most rapidly growing church planting movements in history (India and China), tens of thousands becoming Christians in countries that are traditionally hostile to the gospel, the rapid spread of simple/organic church concepts here in the US. All it has taken is one or more role models to show it can be done and then many follow in their footsteps.
Can we be that one individual who dares to believe the impossible can, with God’s help, become a reality?
One of the things I long to see is the culture in this country change to accept women as co-equals alongside men in the Kingdom.
What areas are you believing for?