Gabby Douglas had "a good feeling" when she arrived in London last week.

"It was raining and I thought, It's going to be a great day," she toldPeople. "My mom used to tell me when I was little, 'When it rains, it's God's manifestation, a big day's waiting to happen.'

"I texted my mom, 'It's raining. You know what that means.'"

For most of the athletes at that day's Olympic events, the London drizzle meant an outstanding performance quickly forgotten amid the other, slightly more outstanding performances. For Douglas, it meant a gold medal in the women's gymnastics individual all-around, making her the first black woman in Olympic history to achieve this accomplishment.

The buoyant 16-year-old Christian from Virginia Beach thanked God in a live interview following her triumph: "I give all the glory to God. It's kind of a win-win situation. The glory goes up to him and the blessings fall down on me." Shortly thereafter she tweeted Psalm 103:2: "Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me," before receiving Twitter shout-outs from Oprah Winfrey, Lady Gaga, and the President of the United States. While the public seems more interested in Douglas's hair than her steadfast faith, her public display of thanking God for such a win—especially given her many challenges in life—was inspiring to this Christian.

On Tuesday, another world-famous Christian athlete stared down the possible win of her life. Lolo Jones, the 29-year-old runner who grew up in poverty in Baton Rouge, has spent the past four years training for the 100-meter hurdles after a stumble at the 2008 Beijing Games caused her to fall from the lead to seventh. The current American record holder in the 60m hurdles, Jones frequently speaks of her faith in Christ, tweeting as she arrived in London, "I'm overwhelmed with emotions. Thank you Lord for another chance and for holding me as Iwaited." As she stood on the line for the 100-meter race yesterday, fans could see her mouthing, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

She needed that strength yesterday, after a nasty, conspicuously timed New York Times article ran over the weekend suggesting that Jones was using sex appeal—not real athletic talent—to get press. "If there is a box to check off, Jones has checked it. Except for the small part about actually achieving Olympic success as a hurdler," wrote Jere Longman. While the NYT has since been pounded even by liberal media for Longman's thinly veiled misogyny, the negative press couldn't have helped Jones, who placed fourth. After hundreds and hundreds of hours preparing for this day, Jones saw a dream shatter in .10 seconds. Last night she tweeted, "In room Singing Desert song by Hillsong. Its on repeat. Lord Jesus please comfort me , guide me & heal my broken heart," and this morning nearly broke down in a live interview with the Today show.

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"I think it was crazy just because it was two days before I competed and then the fact it was from a U.S. media outlet," she said on Today about the NYT piece. "They should be supporting our U.S. Olympic athletes. And instead they just ripped me to shreds.

"I was crushed afterward. I had the best race of my year …. [but] it doesn't take away from the pain, I was so close to once again having a medal and not getting it."

As I imagine Jones sitting in her hotel room, crying while listening to Hillsong tunes, I wonder how we Christians ought to understand the glory and defeat of our fellow Christians at the Olympics—and God's involvement therein. Some commentators, like Mary Elizabeth Williams, seem to want to remove God from the picture entirely. In a recent Salon article, Williams says she finds Douglas's and other athletes' claims of God's special favor "unnerving." She derides this faith as the "God of Parking Spaces," one that promises blessing for "those who ask nicely." (To be fair, Williams may have good reason to doubt God's involvement in particular Olympic wins when he hasn't yet prevented her from cancer diagnoses.)

Other commentators, like Timothy Dalrymple over at Patheos, defend Douglas and other Christian athletes for thanking God for their wins. He says to do so is not a simplistic naiveté but rather part of an orthodox Christian belief that "all things are divinely superintended." "It's not merely that God gives Gabby Douglas the victory," notes Dalrymple. "It's that God gives Gabby Douglas life, the breath in her lungs, the lungs to breathe it with, the talent in her body and soul, the strength in her spirit, the family that supports and inspires her, the opportunity to compete on the highest level, and then (when God gives it) the victory."

When I think of the extreme unlikelihood of Douglas and Jones making it to the Olympics, where the strength and grace of the human body are on their fullest display, I can't help thanking God either—for giving both women healthy minds and bodies, coaches, mentors, financial backing, the right equipment, and the sheer natural talent to number among the world's best athletes, and to even be at the Olympics. Dalrymple is right: God is the source of all good things in athletics, just as he is the source of all good things in every realm of life. It only makes sense that Christian athletes would thank Christ for the blessings on the field as much as they do off.

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Yet I wonder if we also have a robust way of understanding God's involvement in athletic heartbreak. We see God's hand at work when Jeremy Lin makes his 20th consecutive shot, or when Tim Tebow makes the winning pass, or when Douglas lands her routine perfectly. But when Lin misses the free throw; when Tebow drops the ball; when Douglas falls off the balance beam, as she did Monday night—is God not blessing them in those moments? Not enough pregame prayer, or not the right kind? Where is God when it hurts on the field?

For Jones's part, she says she has never "prayed to win a gold medal at Olympics and never will. The Lord is my Shepard [sic] and I shall not want. May His will be done." I think we all could learn something from Jones—to trust God in the depths of Olympic despair as much as in the heights of Olympic glory. Call it a theology of the missed three-pointer. As more and more athletes speak openly about their Christian faith—and as all Christians continue to experience devastation, loss, and heartbreak in this life—we need to develop one now more than ever.