Each year around Memorial Day, it has become a tradition in the CrossFit community for athletes to complete a high volume workout called The Murph Challenge. It is a REALLY tough workout, but is intended to be because of what it represents. The workout is named after Lt. Michael Murphy who was a Navy Seal that died in a fierce battle in Afghanistan in 2005. The story of the battle and Lt. Murphy’s heroic sacrifice has been recounted by the only brother in his unit that survived the encounter in a book and movie entitled the “Lone Survivor”.
The gym that I help run, called CrossFit Parati Omnibus (“Always Ready”), offered this workout to its athletes yesterday. The gym was designed to support the mission of emergency responders in helping to prepare them physically and mentally for the demands of their jobs as police and firefighters. During the introduction to the event, one of our coaches pointed to a picture of Lt. Murphy that he had displayed on the wall of the gym and stated “when you feel like you are ready to quit, look at his picture and the brother’s and sister’s suffering beside you…never quit”.
The picture of Murphy was displayed to remind us of the ultimate sacrifice that he paid in battle for the American ideal of freedom. He chose to join the US military forces which has taken the fight to Islamic terrorists in their backyard rather than fighting them on our soil in order to protect us back home and keep our society free. Whether you agree with the political decisions that were made to accomplish this mission, this is what Lt. Murphy signed up and died for.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of the depictions of a man who paid THE ultimate sacrifice which are hanging throughout my house in the form of a crucifix. Just as the picture of Lt. Murphy is a physical sign which depicts a story of a man who laid down his life for his brother’s, a crucifix also points us to the story of Jesus Christ and his rescue mission to save us from the grips of sin and evil.
This is precisely why it is imperative for us to have these reminders close by, so that we don’t forget the story or lose sight of the mission of God’s battle plan, which each of us are called to participate in. The picture of Lt. Murphy was supposed to inspire us to dig deep when it got tough and make the intentional decision to never quit. In this same way a crucifix ought to well up within us a desire to move forward, regardless of the perilous storms that we will go through…and never quit.
“I have said this to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. (John 16:33)
“Put on the Armor of God” (Eph 6:11)